AMERICAN SNIPER (15)
D: Clint Eastwood
Warner Bros/Village Roadshow/Mad Chance/Malpaso (Clint
Eastwood, Robert Lorenz, Andrew Lazar, Peter Morgan & Bradley Cooper)
USA 🇺🇸 2014
W: Jason Hall [based on the book by Chris Kyle, Scott McEwen
& Jim DeFelice]
DP: Tom Stern
Ed: Joel Cox & Gary D. Roach
Bradley Cooper (Chris Kyle), Sienna Miller
(Taya Kyle), Luke Grimes (Marc Lee), Jake McDorman (Ryan 'Biggles' Job), Corey Hardrict (Dandridge)
Firstly, I'm gonna start by saying that this is a film
review, so I'm going to keep try and keep politics out of this as far as I can. At the time of release, there was still conflict ongoing in the Middle East and it's a very contentious
subject about the validity of US involvement. This is a film review, nothing more and nothing less.
American Sniper has many similarities with 2009's The
Hurt Locker, though the latter follows a bomb disposal ace during his tour of duty whilst the former concentrates on, well, it doesn't take a genius.
This biopic of Chris Kyle does get the Hollywood
treatment with a rather heavy dose of patriotism and does take liberty with some of the facts, but it has to be said that Bradley Cooper does a fantastic job portraying the Texan
marksman. The story follows Kyle's life, from his strict upbringing to his brief stint as a rodeo cowboy. He soon enlists with the Marines and following the events of 9/11 sets his
sights, quite literally, on protecting his military brothers.
The transformation of Kyle's character as the film
goes in is what holds the drama, as he becomes less of a man, husband, father and more a soulless, killing automaton before he finally does something he never bargained on.
Cooper's performance carries this movie, but the
supporting cast are also great, especially Sienna Miller, with a surprisingly good performance.
There will be some who think this glorifies violence,
war or is merely an American version of the film within a film in Inglorious Basterds, but this is a genuine work of craft from director Clint Eastwood, with tense action scenes
punctuated with atmospheric photography, editing and sound which thrust you into the heat of the battle and the dilemma of the man behind the sniper sights every time he has make the
decision of whether or not to pull the trigger.
On another note, there was some rather harsh criticism
around the time of release about the use of a plastic baby prop in a couple of scenes. Yes, it does look pretty bad if you're eagle-eyed enough to spot it, but it's still more convincing
that the CGI baby in Twilight.