Wednesday, January 28, 2015

American Sniper - Movie Review

American Sniper is a movie directed by Clint Eastwood that was adapted from a book written by Scott McEwen, Jim DeFelice, and Navy S.E.A.L. Chris Kyle who is also the subject of the story. The film stars Bradley Cooper, Kyle Gallner, Leonard Roberts, Sienna Miller, Luke Grimes, and Sammy Sheik.

Chris Kyle's story begins during his early years of being a bull riding competitor where nights on tour and at tournaments were spent partying and drinking the night away. After the events of September 11th, 2001, he decided it was time to try and make a difference in the world and chose to join the Navy's S.E.A.L. training program which most recruits end up falling out of before it's over. Kyle eventually becomes an expert shot with a sniper rifle and is deployed overseas to help out with missions to capture high level targets. What he goes through and experiences during his tours of duty will test his resolve and put hard choices in front of him when it comes to duty, country, and family.

Bradley Cooper does a fantastic job in the lead role and has now firmly established himself as one of today's absolute best leading men. There are times in this movie where you completely forget that it's Cooper you are watching rather than the man he is portraying. It's rare when someone so recognizable can lose themselves in a role and he does a masterful job of giving us a performance worthy of all the recognition it will receive. The rest of the cast is filled out with people who are more than capable of handling a dramatic picture like this, the most noteworthy being Sienna Miller who plays Kyle's wife, Luke Grimes who plays Kyle's partner in the field, and Sammy Sheik who plays a rival enemy sniper.

This is definitely one of the movies that brings out a lot of strong emotions and might cause one to reflect on what it means to be a soldier and an American. I put it in the same category as a movie like Saving Private Ryan where you appreciate what a fine job everyone did in making a quality film but, at the same time, you're not jumping up and down with excitement about how awesome it is. Either way, this is easily one of the best films of the year and I would consider it a must see for just about anyone. Clint Eastwood has officially reestablished himself as a prominent director who has the ability to take on a powerful story like this and come out with a product worthy of the source material. Where he really shines is in how he is able to create a balance between the intense action of the fight scenes with the emotional drama of the life he tries to hang on to while doing his duty.

While I haven't read the book this movie is based on and I honestly didn't know much about Chris Kyle before seeing the movie, I feel like Cooper and Eastwood have made a movie that truly honors one of America's finest soldiers. American Sniper is a truly great film about a man who lived as best he could as a soldier, a husband, and a father all while putting himself through unimaginable situations to protect the freedoms we all enjoy today.


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