A Navy S.E.A.L. recounts his military career, which includes more than 150 confirmed kills. Written by imdb
December 25, 2014
Bradley Cooper is Right On Target as Chris Kyle, American Hero
In American Sniper Bradley Cooper plays Chris Kyle, a real life Navy SEAL sharp shooter. The story is based on the Autobiography by Chris Kyle and chronicles his life and legend where he is reported to have over 150 confirmed kills in his career as a SEAL. The movie, directed by a legend in his own right Clint Eastwood, opens in the midst of battle where Kyle is about to make his very first confirmed kill. From there the movie jumps around with a series of flash backs to get you up to speed on the background of Kyle from childhood to how he ended up as a Americas most deadly sniper. After the flashbacks, the movie takes you from one gruesome battle situation to another highlighting some of the more noteworthy kills of his career; all while trying to hold down a family, marriage and his own sanity.
Overall this is not Eastwood’s best work. There is no real visual style here. I wanted this badly to be on the level of Lone Survivor (2013). Yet with the exception of Cooper and Sienna Miller who plays Kyle’s wife, there are no other real marquee actors. The performances seem flat and the world created seem one dimensional. Think the level of acting seen in Act of Valor (2012). Yes, there are some real military in here similarly, yet the actual paid actors are nothing special. That being said I think Eastwood was a very good choice for directing in this film. In order to truly honor the life of Chris Kyle the direction of the picture can’t be politically motivated. There are many directors in Hollywood who would have loaded it too message heavy. This film does exactly what it sets out to do and highlights the life of the man and his family. Out of respect for the family I feel a lot was left out about the end of his life. It’s very hard to fight back tears at the end of this movie.
The real magic in this film is the performance given by Bradley Cooper. Cooper has been signed on to do this film since before Kyle’s untimely death in 2012. Cooper briefly spoke with Kyle and met his family to get a feel for the role. Cooper is much smaller in comparison, so he put on nearly 40lbs to play the role. Along with the change in appearance his mannerisms and Texas accent are down to the proper detail. There are moments in the movie were you forget it the A list actor Bradley Cooper. This is a career defining role that transcends the movie itself. With a dip of Copenhagen in his mouth, hat on backwards and Punisher emblem emblazoned on his armor, there is almost a superhero like quality to it all. And why not, here is a real life man who was the best at what he did, and he did it all for truth, justice and the American way. Like Batman or Superman Cooper’s portrayal of Kyle is larger than life. I have no doubt the Academy will take notice of this performance.
(I hope I can get through this review without tearing up)
Viewing this movie in the theatre is different than usual. While you walk in and grab your seat, you may feel that everyone around you is anticipating the same thing … a powerful story about a powerful man with a powerful purpose. That’s a lot for a movie to live up to.
I believe you will walk out of the theatre with many thoughts after watching American Sniper … and one of those thoughts will be that Bradley Cooper gave unwavering respect to Chris Kyle, his family, his fellow SEALS, his country and the movie industry. He bulked up his shoulders and took on a very difficult role that etches him on the list of “Great Actors” as he plays the real life character of Chris Kyle. Simply put – he was believable. His look. His accent. His Texas strut. His dip. His eyes. Watching the film you can clearly see what I assume to be parallel of what Kyle experienced on the battlefields abroad and at home. I can only hope the Kyle family and friends feel the same, as Cooper’s acting appears to be a beautiful tribute to a “Legend”.
While Clint Eastwood didn’t break any ground with direction, I do believe he was a perfect choice for this film and did an incredible job telling Kyle’s story without putting politics on the screen. This is a rough story to watch no matter your political views … war is hell on all sides. If Eastwood put politics in the film I believe the audience would have lost the purpose of the piece. This is a movie that liberals, conservatives, libertarians, and “I-don’t-knowins” can appreciate.
The best movies make you walk out of the doors seeing the world a bit differently. American Sniper gives an eerie look into a world that we, as Americans, are so far away from. Many of us don’t know death like this. We don’t know what it’s like to face the mental and physical challenges our troops face during war. We’ve never been in the middle of a sand-storm fire fight. Eastwood, his crew and cast provide us with a small glimpse into what our troops face overseas and stateside. After seeing the movie inside an enormous mall, it was a bit surreal to walk out to an Urban Outfitters and Apple store full of Christmas shoppers. American Sniper will push you outside of everyday life to tell you a story that will stir your head and your heart.
Personally, American Sniper brought many emotions about the courageous servicemen, women and their families that have touched my life. Over the years I’ve had the honor to work with the American Veterans Center (AVC) in Arlington, VA, who host the National Memorial Day Parade and Wounded Warrior Experience among other great events. Some of the veterans who starred in American Sniper have also shared their story during AVC events. If this movie inspires you to learn more about these outstanding men and women, please check out AVC.
American Sniper also reminded me of the bravest people I know — Lance Corporal Nicholas Erdy and his family. Much like you see on the screen, the Erdy’s sacrifice and love for our country is the stuff superheroes are made of.
To the Kyle family, Erdys, all veterans, servicemen and women, and their families … thank you for your sacrifice and courage. Your stories inspire us to strive for love and peace. To Eastwood, Cooper and the American Sniper team … thank you for clearly putting your heart into this important American story. Bravo.
Bottom line – the Chris Kyle Story – American Sniper – is a must see.
AMERICAN SNIPER TRAILER