Like many directors, Clint Eastwood’s films carry a distinct style and feel. Even when stories are set in modern times, his movies always manage to feel like they’re taking place in the old west. Since his directorial debut, Eastwood has delivered a fairly balanced series of hits and misses over the years. His latest adaptation of ‘American Sniper’ is without a doubt among his most memorable hits.
‘American Sniper’ tells the story of Navy Seal Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) and his legendary status as the most lethal Sniper in U.S. military history. Throughout the film we follow Kyle on his journey from a simple life in Texas to his four tours in Iraq. Bradley Cooper utterly disappears in his role as the patriotic and battle hardened Chris Kyle. Compared to actual photos the resemblance is both amazing and terrifying. Regardless of looks, Cooper does a marvelous job capturing Kyle’s personality and charm. The chemistry between Cooper and co-star Sienna Miller is perfection. Miller, portraying Kyle’s wife Taya Renae Kyle, treats the audience with a great performance as she effortlessly shifts between supporting her husband and challenging his self-imposed crusade.
The audience should feel like a fly on the wall. That said, the dialogue between the actors in nearly every situation is engaging and feels completely natural. Every word is spoken with emotion and humanity, even if it was a darker side of humanity.
Eastwood’s grasp of story, character, and cinematography are fully realized in a vivid and no nonsense presentation. ‘American Sniper’ can be a difficult movie to watch.
The film pulls no punches in its portrayal of war violence and the effects that violence can have for someone abroad and back home. More specifically, as the title implies, ‘American Sniper’ does not just present Chris Kyle’s life, but also his inner struggle with what many consider a profession that carries a certain moral ambiguity. Is it right to take someone’s life in cold blood, regardless of war?
Many of Kyle’s confirmed kills were made defending troop movement. Whatever answer one may arrive at, the reality is that many of Kyle’s fellow service men and women depended tremendously on his skill. Still, the role and responsibilities of a sniper will continue to be the subject of debate for years to come.
While the movie is very violent, it does a fine job of not glorifying that violence. Rather it portrays it as a terrible reality that these special men and women live in order to protect the nation. Kyle is not presented as a man war junkie who loves the smell of napalm in the morning. On the contrary, he is a man who feels that there is a job that needs to be done and he’s ready to suit up; no matter how much he would rather stay home.
‘American Sniper’ is an exemplary portrayal of war, service, and dedication to family and country. I would absolutely recommend this film as it does not mince words or struggle with political correctness; what you see is what you get. ‘American Sniper’ targets us with its poignancy and hits its mark from over a mile away.