Bradley Cooper, along with an equally impressive supporting cast, delivers one of the best performances I have ever seen. It has been called an eerily accurate depiction of one of America’s very own war heroes, “The Legend” Chris Kyle.
“American Sniper,” based on the book “American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History,” is a faithful film adaptation of Kyle’s life. The story takes the audience through his early cowboy days, depicts his relationship with wife Taya Kyle, and shows the brutality of modern war through gritty realism. All the action and drama is well-paced together, but the most prominent feature of the film is Cooper’s performance.
That is where this film shines and succeeds, because “American Sniper” executes a perfect mission of a character case study in romantic, modern wartime terms. A stellar supporting cast, including Sienna Miller as his wife Taya, cinematography led by Tom Stern and a gripping score all help to immerse the audience in this exhilarating and heartstring-tugging tale.
All these elements, combined with realistic sets and banging drums during the more intense scenes, make for some real “edge of your seat” moments.
Much thought was put into the script to make it a psychologically profound story. The original version for the film adaptation came from Steven Spielberg, who provided much of the final screenplay.
A prime example of this psychological element is the scene where Kyle must make a choice between killing a young boy or risking him blowing up a troop of U.S. Marines with a grenade. This was also a seemingly wise choice for a trailer spot. It reflected the conflicts, both internal and situational, of the movie as well as persuaded cinema goers to make “American Sniper” the highest-grossing war film to date.
“American Sniper” is very well put together and well choreographed overall. However, there is one fairly obvious flaw in the middle of the film. It is actually pretty humorous if it was not supposed to be an emotional scene between Cooper and Miller’s characters. Kyle is holding his small child in his arms, but in reality, Cooper is holding a plastic baby doll. The real baby was sick, and the backup never showed up on set. It was a glaring mistake made worse by the fact that the $60 million budget could not find any other solution to the problem.
Despite the mistake, director Clint Eastwood manages to take viewers through four Iraqi tours of hard fought trials and tribulations. The realism is shocking, provoking, and provides a tone for a film that enthralls viewers the whole way through its approximate two-hour runtime.