Starring: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Kyle Gallner
Director: Clint Eastwood
Running Time: 132 mins
American Sniper is an American story about the life of the most lethal sniper in US military history, Chris Kyle, and his struggle to balance his duty to protect his country with staying at home to be with his family.
This is a really strong return to form from Clint Eastwood, being one of the most exciting and intriguing of his films in years. In this film, Bradley Cooper’s strong central performance really creates a tough but fascinating emotional dilemma, which grows greater as the film goes on; a really interesting plot line, whilst the action and fighting throughout this film is also big, fast and loud enough for it to be an exciting and entertaining film too.
Let’s start with Bradley Cooper, who, in my opinion, gives his best performance in years in this film. He manages to draw you so closely towards Chris Kyle that this moral dilemma that he faces between his country and his family, something that most people could easily choose between, becomes incredibly tough to decide on, and is one of the most heavy-going parts of the entire film.
Meanwhile, the screenplay here is really good at keeping up a good degree of interest in a relatively slow-paced film. Whilst making Kyle’s emotional trouble become even more evident and painful as the story goes on, it manages to switch the story between the battlefield, where the fast action happens, and home, where it all slows down and becomes very serious, often enough that it gives the impression of a fast-moving story.
Personally, I normally find that the periods ‘at home’ in modern war films never live up to the excitement of the battlefield, The Hurt Locker being a good example, but here, I was absolutely fascinated by what was going on in Chris Kyle’s family life even more so than the war, which is no mean feat in a war film, so that was particularly impressive.
The only issue with this film is that it’s not really anything outstanding to witness. The action looks fairly ordinary, and it’s not the most excitingly directed film, however what is genuinely outstanding is the power of the emotion over the action throughout this film, a successful change from many of the most generic war films, so that’s why this gets an 8.3.