American Sniper: Movie Review

"American Sniper" has the workings of the quintessential biographical film. Dramatic, engaging and gritty at bursts, the film presents a heroic and harrowing look into the workings of the deadliest American sniper in history. Ironically, this focused and detailed look into Chris Kyle's life is also the same thing that makes "American Sniper" simply imperfect.

U.S. Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) is sent to Iraq with only one mission: to protect his brothers-in-arms. His pinpoint accuracy saves countless lives on the battlefield and, as stories of his courageous exploits spread, he earns the nickname “Legend”. However, his reputation is also growing behind enemy lines, putting a price on his head and making him a prime target of insurgents. Despite the danger, as well as the toll on his family at home, Chris serves through four harrowing tours of duty in Iraq. Upon returning home, Chris finds that it is the war and its deadly consequences he can’t leave behind.

The long running time and the deep psychological scenes of "American Sniper" equates to a film that may not suit everyone's taste. The film may have its bouts of gritty violence but the bulk of the film rather takes its slow focusing more on the psychology of Chris Kyle as it changes over the course of his four tours in Iraq. The film is seriously engaging but is it also frustrating as its narrowness towards Kyle's character means the other major characters feel extremely under-developed and under-utilized (his brother, his wife, his squad mates). Also, Eastwood's style may also be a bit jarring at times. We do get the artistic style of mixing its messages, PTSD and more into the film's cinematography but it may have been used too extensively at times. On the acting side, Bradley Cooper was perfect as Chris Kyle. He also manages to do a gripping portrayal as his character changes over the course of the film. Overall, "American Sniper" is an interesting spin into the life of Chris Kyle - one that may not be accurate and perfect but it is still damn inspiring.

Rating: 3 and a half reels

Why you should watch it:
- astounding acting from Bradley Cooper
- deep psychological look into the effects of war

Why you shouldn't watch it:
- the film's cinematic style may feel jarring
- the focused narrowness of the film is limiting

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