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American Sniper – Movie Review – V2.0

American Sniper

American Sniper – Movie Review by Frances Winston

Directed by: Clint Eastwood

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Max Charles, Luke Grimes, Kyle Gallner, Sam Jaeger, Jake McDorman, Cory Hardrict, Navid Negahban, Eric Close, Eric Ladin

In cinemas January 16th

The latest addition to the abundance of fact based dramas currently in cinemas comes in the form of this biopic of Chris Kyle who was one of the best snipers in the history of the U.S. military. Kyle is played here by Bradley Cooper who has seriously bulked up for the role. The story begins just before he joins the Navy SEALS which he was inspired to do after watching footage of terrorist attacks. After completing training he meets a girl called Taya Renae (Miller) who despite her protestations that she would never marry a military man ends up his wife. However Chris’s tours take their toll on the couple and the nature of his work makes him withdrawn and he fights a constant struggle to balance his work and family.

Although his story wouldn’t be as well known on this side of the pond Chris was later killed by a military veteran he was trying to help. The Texan native even had a memorial service in the famous Cowboys Stadium which was full to capacity with those wishing to pay their respects. For that reason this will probably not strike as much of a chord with people here as it did in the U.S. Despite this it is still a powerful movie with Eastwood’s stoic direction evident throughout. He treats the story with total reverence – almost as he did with Flags of Our Fathers a few years ago.

Cooper immerses himself in the role of Kyle but at times he is veering towards caricature and is very gung ho. It is a great performance from him but if Kyle wasn’t an All American Hero I’m not sure it would have merited an Oscar nod. Sienna Miller continues her reinvention as a serious actress here having been better known as a fashion plate in the past and does a great job as Kyle’s long suffering wife. This is Cooper’s film though and everyone else is his support.

The scenes of his tours do become somewhat repetitious and all blend into each other. That said war movies are not my favourite genre so that might have been a personal thing. However these scenes offer a nice juxtaposition between his home life and help you understand Taya’s frustrations.

Kyle is very much put on a pedestal here which makes the whole movie feel a bit one sided. It is a decent enough film though. Everyone has struggled with their work life balance (although not necessarily to Kyle’s extreme) so it is relatable. It just would have been nice to have a bit more balance and bit less Boy’s Own.

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