US Navy SEAL Sniper, Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) is regarded as a legend on the Iraqi battlefield for his courageous determination, exceptional leadership qualities, and pinpoint accuracy. However, finding a balance between his personal and professional lifestyle is far more difficult than he initially bargained for. American Sniper accounts the physical, emotional, and psychological horrors this young man was exposed to whilst defending the honour of his home country – both on the front line and in his homeland.
I’ve previously mentioned in my blog how film’s have managed to expertly generate a sense of tension on a number of occasions and American Sniper is most definitely no exception. The element of suspense is not necessarily the film’s most notable quality but the narrative tension applied to Kyle’s agonising journey through the severity of war is evidently effective. The film can be viewed as an intense psychological study into one of the most strenuous occupations on the planet. It portrays Kyle as a very loyal, courageous and patriotic family man in a bare humanistic light as it frequently alternates between his time back home in the USA with his time in Iraq. The balance between these two lifestyles does perhaps lean a little toward the war aspect, making it feel slightly like an all-action military film, although it is very intriguing to see the narrative unfold with an extra emotional perspective. The films best quality is how it displays powerfully horrific war sequences in which Kyle walks the tight-rope of morality in order to deal with certain situations (most notably an angry Iraqi war-lord who takes his DIY hobbies to extreme levels).
I’m very pleased to see Bradley Cooper in a much more serious role than we’re used to and I’m equally as grateful to see him nominated once again for an Academy Award. That’s now 3 in a row for ‘Coop’, which surely means if he keeps this up we should expect to see him up there with the likes of Streep, Brando, and Pacino in the future. He’s clearly proving that he’s a very talented, hard-working, and (most-notably) versatile performer. It’s also great to see Eastwood still delivering a wonderful quality of film considering the man is an astonishing 82 years young. ‘The Man With No Name’ is truly as masterful a director as he is a performer. A true legend!
Overall the film showcases an excellent performance from one of Hollywood’s fastest rising stars and one of its most consistently impressive filmmakers in Cooper and Eastwood, respectively. At times it can feel a little bit patriotically preachy but the extreme war sequences combined with the emotional and psychological depth make this a very interesting blockbuster.
4 American Flags out of 5
by Simon Garganera Price