Sunday, January 11, 2015

[Review] American Sniper

Bradley Cooper plays a sniper in Clint Eastwood's latest (and 37th) directorial effort. American Sniper is based on the late Chris Kyle's bestselling autobiography of the same name, which details his tours in Iraq as a Navy SEAL. He received the title of the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history.

The chilling, tense, and 'close-up' & personal wartime sequences interweave with Kyle's life preceding his deployment--his childhood, his marriage, his fatherhood, and his eventual experiences with PTSD after coming home. This strategy fleshes out the story and adds even more heft. Eastwood employs some no nonsense direction (save for one slow-motion bullet sequence), creating a gritty realism in the vein of The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty, and Lone Survivor.

There's been some controversy regarding the film's accuracy in its depiction of Chris Kyle, and whether or not the character in the movie is really representative of his ideals. But either way, American Sniper, when taken as a standalone piece of cinema, is a harrowing and compelling tale of a conflicted soldier battling more wars than one. Bradley Cooper adds another impressively serious performance to his resume--his eyes growing wearier with each pull of the trigger.


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