Sunday, January 11, 2015

Review: American Sniper (2014)

    American Sniper': Best War Movie Since 'Saving Private Ryan'

        After finally seeing American Sniper, I now realize that because there is plenty of hype surrounding it, hype sometimes can lead to positive results if you watch a film with an open mind. Not only that, but this powerful film manages to feature career-best work from those involved.
       American Sniper follows the true story of a NAVY Seal named Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) who was said to be the most lethal sniper in U.S. History. The film follows Kyle as he went on his four tours and how he adjusts to life back home after each tour with his family. He slowly begins to realize how you can leave the war, but the war never leaves you.

       I'll start off with the performance by Mr. Bradley Cooper. He is one of my absolute favorite actors and I have always enjoyed every performance of his. But this may very well be his best work. There isn't a trace of Richie DiMaso, Phil Wenneck, or Sack Lodge to be found. All I saw when he was on screen was Chris Kyle, both physically and mentally. Some of his best scenes were the ones where he is on a balcony spying on targets and with the use of his eyes, he is able to show how he achingly doesn't want to pull the trigger. I also would like to acknowledge Sienna Miller, who plays Chris' wife Taya. Normally, in war movies, the army wives tend to be given a backseat and while Miller is given some more limited screen time, she is able to showcase a rather quiet desperation of her character, longing for Chris to stay at home with her. Even when Chris comes back, she still doesn't feel she is really "there". When watching those two on screen, I honestly didn't feel like I was watching two actors act.

       Next, I'll get into the direction by Clint Eastwood. I would say that this is his best work of his that I've seen since Unforgiven. I liked how he doesn't have the film repeatedly cut back and forth between the past and the present. He and screenwriter Jason Hall allow a more natural flow and go from when Kyle joins the army to the end of his last tour. I think if they had gone the traditional route of cutting back and forth between flashbacks, it would've taken away from the film-watching experience because the film was meant to show how soldiers are affected the war when they are there, when they are at home, and how some of them just keep coming back. I also loved the rather haunting score, also done by Clint Eastwood, which was incorporated in the battle scenes to help increase the tension when it was heightened yet the score is more mellow at the right times. So, the score, much like the film, hits every note perfectly.


        Overall, American Sniper is a quietly masterful war drama about how the war never leaves us when we go back home. The performances by Cooper and Miller were groundbreakingly realistic, the direction by Clint Eastwood is his best in years, and I would say this is the best war movie since Saving Private Ryan.

         Would I Recommend It?:
   Absolutely. If you are a fan of Bradley Cooper, then put this high on your watchlist. I would also say this is a must-see to make audiences truly appreciate what our troops do for our country.

Grade: A+