American Sniper 8/10

After a handful of recent forgettable films, Clint Eastwood hits a bullseye with American Sniper. Based on the best selling, autobiography, American Sniper is not only worthy of you’re viewing, its necessary to comprehend the true meaning of psychological warfare.

Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle’s (Bradley Cooper) pinpoint accuracy saves countless lives on the battlefield and turns him into a legend. Back home to his wife (Sienna Miller) and kids after four tours of duty, however, Chris finds that it is the war he can’t leave behind.

American Sniper is as much about sacrifice and heroism as it is war. We follow Chris Kyle, nicknamed “legend” and rightfully so. The film portrays Kyle as calm yet concentrated man, raged with passion for his country. Driven for purposes of revenge and righteousness. American Sniper excels in showing all of Kyle’s character. Sure we see his high’s but more importantly we experience his low’s. Eastwood does a masterful job painting a full picture. He doesn’t glorify for the sake of purpose and he certainly doesn’t drag Kyle’s character through the dirt for spectacle. He handles Chris Kyle’s story with the respect and craftsmanship he rightfully deserves.

Also, American Sniper does a superb job of shining a light on a soldier’s real battle. About the war every soldier fights, first to stay alive, then to reconcile their beliefs and illusions about their duty with the realities of war. But eventually, the soldiers fight to leave the war behind and live life again. The film continuously follows Kyle as he struggles mentally to keep himself sharp. Fellow soldiers chime in more than one occasion to voice their mental instability also, its a balancing beam that no regular civilian can understand yet hopefully American Sniper helps you appreciate and gain awareness of.

With the help of Bradley Cooper’s excellent performance, American Sniper succeeds marvelously as a character study. Fully present in each scene, Cooper pulls off a genuine portrayal of man who’s layers are deep but powered by pure intentions. Sienna Miller playing Taya Kyle adds some needed perspective and plays emotional scenes with bone chilling accuracy. They balance a great family dynamic and their vignettes as a family, although sometimes heartbreaking paint a realistic picture of the love, patience and understanding great marriage needs.

Eastwood is a hard-nosed Director and delivers a no nonsense movie. You won’t find any apologies in the end credits. Also absent are statements hoping not to offend anyone. What you will find is a reality of sorts. The realization that war isn’t attractive, but unfortunately necessary. You will leave having learned much about a man who’s life deserves to be honored, but more importantly you’ll exit learning the majority of us know nothing of experiencing war firsthand, and for that you can thank people like Chris Kyle.

Your politics shouldn’t have to be pro-war, or pro-Iraq-war, or Republican, or conservative, or even pro-Chris Kyle, in order to appreciate this film and what it tries to say about soldiers and the nature of war. The narrative is about the simple truth that everybody involved is a casualty of war, but not without a righteous cause and a film like American Sniper should not only underline such a statement , but boldface it as well.

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