Synopsis – 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.
My Take – This film is Clint Eastwood’s harrowing take on the life of Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle’s life, a man accredited with taking down 180 enemy combatants. The film follow’s Chris’s (Bradley Cooper) story as he grows up dreaming to be a cowboy, but ends up dedicating his life in military defending his country and helping his military brothers. He’s loyal and focused, but this might be a problem since he becomes more and more affected by the world he’s trying to destroy. As a result, he sees a deterioration of all that he treasures, as his mind can’t handle the resulting emotional trauma of the experiences he has to go through. His main problem is how much he gives of himself. He starts neglecting his wife (Sienna Miller) and children, and his obsession, might in some people’s opinion, might not let him see clearly. The film doesn’t take sides. It lets us observe what it is like being in the middle of this conflict. It’s a world where you fight for your survival, where you don’t know how death can reach and take you any moment.
Chris is in the middle, but he shields his mind from the consequences to himself. He wavers when he’s about to cause too much damage. He is able to recognize innocence and hesitate, but the lines blur, and he’s unable to leave his work behind. Problems arise at home. Though this film is relentlessly violent and really disturbing at times, but still manages to honor the late Chris Kyle in a very admirable way. It doesn’t show this man as an invincible legend, it shows him as a mere man with a heart and soul that are clearly broken due to his sacrifice for his country. Bradley Cooper delivers the best performance of his career as Chris Kyle. This movie is about PTSD and the effects war, and is an amazingly put together story. You may not like the story and what it tells about a man’s feelings toward a group of people who are trying to kill his fellow countrymen. Director Clint Eastwood has made a much bigger film that we usually get from him. He dares go and show a much more complex picture of this world of war, hurt, and pain. He goes inside the heads of those in the middle, both Americans and the locals. Yes, everyone has two sides, and what becomes obvious is that there are actions and reactions and sometimes the explanations are not so simple. We feel an emptiness because this man was not just a soldier, but a tortured hero that tried hard to do his best, but he was after all another human who was equally vulnerable in many other ways. At the heart of the film is Chris Kyle, a fantastic Bradley Cooper who transforms into a bulk force & shows more range than he did in the Oscar nomination Silver Linings Playbook. Sienna Miller plays his tough and supporting wife.
She adores him, but she can see how much his assignments are destroying their relationship. There is genuine affection between them, and she tries to save their marriage, but she knows if he doesn’t stop, she will become another victim, and we know she’ll never allow it. Miller’s performance is one of the best of the year because she portrays love, resilience, frustration, anger, dedication, and confusion very well. She develops and expands her character in a way that we never leave her behind, even in the middle of horrific battles. At times a bit too similar to The Hurt Locker, mainly due to its mix of subject, theme and quality – the film introduces us to the world of war craft, and brings the tones of Call of Duty to the screen with seemingly authentic realism. Old man Eastwood has mixed up action, drama and humor in a way only a legendary filmmaker could put together. The man still has the ability to tell a compelling story. On the whole “American Sniper” is an impressive film in general. It doesn’t dive into politics and American ideology, but instead focuses heroism, brotherhood, loyalty, PTSD and tragedy, in all building up to one of the most epic finales a film can offer. Give it a watch!
Director – Clint Eastwood
Rated – R
Run Time – 132 min