American Sniper – A good story that goes on a little bit too long
To be the more credible he could be for his role, Bradley Cooper trained for this movie, physically by expanding his muscle mass, but also psychologically by truly getting into the tortured psychology of his character.
Should I see it?
If you expect a movie that’s all about action, you are going to be disappointed.
Directed by Clint Eastwood
Released on January 16, 2015
Running Time: 132 minutes
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Kyle Gallner
Review – 7.5/10
The life of the deadliest American sniper in history, Chris Kyle, about how he became a legend and how he dealt back home with what he lived through.
The story begins with Kyle as a child, where we see his living environment and how he was raised. The story than takes a big leap in time to when he’s much older, and a cowboy! It’s during those scenes that we see what influenced him to be in the military. The movie goes on during his four tours, how he and his wife, Taya, adjust to live far away from each other and how they both struggles with the repercussions the war as on Kyle. Out of 255 probable kills, 160 was confirmed which made Kyle the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history.
The movie is, without any surprises, patriotic and with one political point of view. People are put into three categories: the sheep, the innocents who are blinds to how the world really works, who follows around and needs to be saved; the wolves, the bad guys, which here it seemed it was the entire Middle East Nation, and the sheepdogs, the guardians of the sheep, protector of the innocents which in the movie was the U.S. military. If you are able to put that aside, then American Sniper shows an interesting and different point of view that few others war movies does, how a soldier deals with what he lived and saw once he’s back home. It’s one of the point that I liked about the movie, the fact that it goes beyond the action and actually shows us how the soldiers deals and adjusts to be back home with their families. You can always recognize Clint Eastwood’s work by the way he always take times to develop his characters emotionally, this winning formula is the same with American Sniper. The movie alternates between war scenes and his life back home in between his tours. During the war scenes, it shows us that it is human beings, and not machines, that are behind the guns. That, like everybody else, they have emotions and when in a war zone they see a kid take a gun, and they just hope he drops it so the order to shoot a child will not come. And during the between tours scenes, we see his struggle to keep his mind out of the “war thinking zone”. Even if he is physically with his family, his wife always ask him to come back to them because emotionally, he’s always somewhere back in the war in his head. The movie develops a lot on that aspect, about how hard it is to get the war out of a person once they lived it.
Bradley Cooper delivered us a solid performance as Kyle. In fact, I think his performance saved a lot for the movie. Because the movie is mostly based about Kyle’s life in war, he’s reaction to it and his post-dramatic stress, if Bradley Cooper wouldn’t have acted so well, the whole story would have fallen to a flat line, no matter who directed it. The movie is not as much about action than it was about emotion, so the actor had a big influence with how the movie would turn out to be good or bad. Sienna Miller played Kyle’s wife, and I think it was her best performance so far. She played very well the heartbroken wife that wishes for her husband to act as such and be there with their children.
The war scenes are very well executed, with enough intensity to give us an idea of what it was like for Kyle during that time. Some scenes will probably shock some people, but if this is what they live through and saw, then I’m happy that they show me actual facts. The cinematography is breathtaking, the way it was filmed between Cooper and his rifle, it was like he had an intimacy with his weapon, like it was his life and nothing else matter. One bad point, I thought sometimes it lacks constancy. When only in the war zone or only back home, to story is fluid, but the transitions between both aspects in his life could have been more detailed, instead of jumping from one country to the next. Another thing that I was not a fan of, it gets monotonous after the second tour. You understand quite quickly that the more he goes back to war and kills people, the more Kyle has psychological troubles to get his life normally back on track.
Overall American Sniper is not a masterpiece, but it is a movie worth seeing that will keep you well entertain for a little more than two hours.
Pulling the political one point of view aside, I liked the movie, it was a good entertainment but also refreshing to see their lives once they are out of the war zone, and Bradley Cooper showed us once more that he has what it takes to act in different types of movies.