Friday, January 16, 2015

American Sniper Review: Powerful Tribute to The Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. History

These kind of movies are never easy to critique; by which I mean films dealing with historical event or real people. I always feel like I am walking on egg shells trying to analyze the film as I have to take into consideration the real events, and people, being portrayed on the silver screen. Nevertheless, I accept these adaptions as movies and do my to look at them as I would any other film. The latest film to do this is a war film by the name of American Sniper. American Sniper captures the story of Chris Kyle and his career as a Navy Seal. The movie is based off Kyle's autobiography simply known as "The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper U.S Military History". To bring this soldier's story to the big screen, the man behind in the director's chair was none other then Clint Eastwood. Clint Eastwood has made a name for himself as a director, and fortunately the man is no stranger to directing war films. Yet did Eastwood's adaptions not only do Chris Kyle justice but make for an impressive war movie?

The film follows the story of Chris Kyle (portrayed by Bradley Cooper) as we see how Kyle found his way into the military which then lead him into the War in Iraq. American Sniper goes through all of Kyle's tour in Iraq and how he gained the name "The Legend" thanks to his skills at being a marksman. The plot to American Sniper is a character driven story if I have ever seen one. Most of the story deals with Chris Kyle's four tours in Iraq, and the movie captures those moments to the best of its ability.  The story also had an interesting structure. Oppose to seeing Kyle's tours play out in their entirety, the plot captured the critical moments of each tour and then jump to Chris' life outside of Iraq. Now this was not bad thing as showing Chris Kyle's full tours would take to long. Yet how these scenes transitioned between one another was interesting as the film could take you right out of the action in Iraq and back to the states where the drama continued to build. Nevertheless, the plot to American Sniper was effective as it captured then intensity of war as well as the tension of Chris Kyle's army career.

With a movie like American Sniper, you need a character who can take command for the film's full run-time. Thankfully, the characterization of Chris Kyle did just that. Kyle seemed to have two dimensional perspective on things; which actually made for an intriguing factor for the sniper. Because Kyle saw things so black and white, it was interesting to see how the war affected him and how he handled it; which lead to a character that you could easily understand. With this kind of portrayal, I really must take my hat off to Bradley Cooper for his performance of this soldier. Cooper captured the internal conflict of this character as well as Kyle's dedication. Along with Bradley Cooper's terrific role was a great performance from Sienna Miller as Chris' wife: Taya. Miller's portrayal of Taya made sense dramatically as she captured the realistic ideas behind a soldier's wife. Plus Cooper and Miller had a genuine chemistry capturing this couple. The rest of the cast did not have a lot of screen time, but everyone was memorable. At the end of the day American Sniper featured a great cast, but Bradley Cooper really does steal the show as "The Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History".

Gazing at the film's cinematography, American Sniper certainly looked like a Clint Eastwood movie. That statement makes sense as cinematographer Tom Stern teamed up with Eastwood yet again to capture the look of American Sniper. Stern's involvement is by no means a bad thing as the cinematography fit the film's concept as well as captured its atmosphere. Something that surprised me about American Sniper was the movie's score as there was little to no music.  Actually, there was no score for this war film. The lack of music was actually a good move on the filmmakers' part as the silence added to American Sniper's tense moments. The technical factors to American Sniper were subtle to say the least, but this move only strengthen Eastwood's direction as it allowed this war movie to stand out.

I am not sure how accurate American Sniper really is to the story of Chris Kyle, but I can say is that this war film is one that I will not forget. The movie captured the drama of war as well as how it affects the soldiers involved; as well as their loved ones. With Clint Eastwood's keen direction and Bradley Coopers astonishing performance, American Sniper is a tough as nails war film that, in my opinion, captured the story of a true soldier.

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