American Sniper (18)
Directed by: Clint Eastwood
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller & Kyle Gallner
Running time: 132 min
Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle’s pinpoint accuracy saves countless lives on the battlefield and turns him into a legend. Back home to his wife and kids after four tours of duty, however, Chris finds that it is the war he can’t leave behind.
Bradley Cooper, bulked up on muscle and with a Texan drawl, brings to life America’s most decorated sniper; Chris Kyle. Chris, who was a US Navy SEAL and served four tours, wrote about his exploits in “American Sniper”, and this film is based on the book.
With flashbacks from Chris’ early childhood, his training at boot camp and sniper school to meeting his wife, director Clint Eastwood tries to convey on screen a well-rounded and determined individual who wanted to serve his country.
With the family flashbacks aside, there was substantially little time devoted to this, the movie clearly focuses on Chris’ four tours following his deployment after the September 11 attacks. And it is in these scenes during his time served that are the film’s strengths and perhaps weaknesses.
The combat scenes are the most realistic since Saving Private Ryan, with virtually no foul language or Rambo style idiotic stunts. Every bullet whizzing past, explosion of grenade and heart pounding adrenalin fuelled moment is played out on the screen. The viewer will certainly feel as though are part of the landscape that is brought to life, complete with burning ruins and bullet strewn walls.
There are certainly scenes that the viewer may either pump the air in victory or shake their head in anger at the mentality of the main character; but you cannot deny that Bradley Cooper has gone beyond the usual preparation for an actor and delivered a performance that will either make the viewer feel proud or ashamed.
Director Clint Eastwood has created a movie that is a visual masterpiece in its cinematography and action sequences that, thankfully, have virtually no music playing in the background. This is an entirely refreshing view as so often action scenes are backed by some angst ridden rock group or by specifically composed classically arranged orchestral music, yet in this film there is nothing but the natural – or un-natural – sound of the environment.
Depending on your political view, and in truth there are a number of scenes wherein the viewer may question the actions of the main character, this film contains some of the greatest action directed war scenes brought to the silver screen in decades.
Political and personal views aside, this is a must see film for the incredible reality and for the performance of Bradley Cooper!
4 out of 5 Nerds