Review: American Sniper Is the True Story of One of America’s Deadliest Snipers

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Bradley Cooper in American Sniper (Warner Bros.)

Bradley Cooper in American Sniper (Warner Bros.)

Today, at the 87th Academy Award nominations, American Sniper received six nominations, including Best Picture, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Actor for the performance of Bradley Cooper.

This is yet another brilliantly directed gem by long time film veteran Clint Eastwood who captures the essence of the struggle between the man and the soldier. The movie based on Chris Kyle’s autobiography American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History, stars Cooper and Sienna Miller.

This emotive story explores the horrors of war, the before and after struggles that soldiers encounter and the families who patiently await their return. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle (Cooper) is the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history (over 150 confirmed kills over four tours in Iraq), Eastwood emphasizes his inner struggle between the killer and the man. Much like in David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook, Cooper gives a stellar performance that tugs at your heart strings and leaves one pondering a terrifying question: what would I do in that situation?

The film opens with Kyle gripping his riffle and being forced to make a major decision: kill a child and a woman, who may or may not be hiding bombs or risk loosing his entire team. From then on, you can expect an edge of your seat thriller with an unsuspecting twist.

Eastwood does a magnificent job of depicting Kyle’s internal struggle, between tours, to reconnect with his wife, Taya (Sienna Miller), and their two kids. It is both heart breaking and intimidating to watch Kyle’s disconnect with the world around him once he’s home. His wife Taya’s courage and relentless effort to bring back the man she married is commendable and disturbing. Upon his return, after watching his friends loose their lives in a foreign land, Kyle prepares to go back to back to the middle east and says to his wife in an emotionless manner: “We can wait, but they can’t.”

Tension reaches its climax when Kyle is sent to kill the Butcher (Mido Hamada), one of the deadliest Al Qaeda terrorist who murdered many American soldiers including Kyle’s close friends.

In classic Eastwood manner, the director forces you to see and feel both sides of his plight while waving the flag of patriotism high. This is an ode to every soldier that’s ever gone to war. Cooper is a shoe in for Best Actor and Eastwood hit the bull’s eye in his recount of Kyle’s story. If Eastwood doesn’t win the Oscar for Best Director, it’ll be a shock.

American Sniper
Warner Bros.
Currently in theaters.

4.5 Stars

Films are rated on a scale of 5 stars (must-see), 4 stars (exceptional), 3 stars (solid), 2 stars (average) and 1 star (unworthy).

Brenda Camberos is a Contributing Writer for Living Out Loud - LA, covering lifestyle and entertainment. Follow her on Twitter: @DitaDimone1
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