American Sniper Movie Review (2014) DVD Release (by JohnnyTwoToes of the Movie Slackers)
Having a limited release in late 2014 kept a lot of people from seeing American Sniper. Now that it has been released nationally, this year and now on DVD, people everywhere can marvel at Clint Eastwood’s masterpiece. This is a great film.
Based on Chris Kyle’s own book about his life and how he became the United State’s most dangerous sniper, the film has been lambasted and ridiculed as pro war propaganda. Certain people (who will remain nameless, despite my strong urge to do otherwise) have even gone so far as to impugn Mr. Kyle and what he did in his sadly shorten life. We can agree to disagree on that point, but what the film portrays is entirely different.
American Sniper shows Kyle as a rough and tumble kind of a spirit. A hell raiser of sorts; rodeos, booze and women. As any young man of his age will get into in his early years, and Chris was no exception. But, born and raised in a proudly pro American home with good parents, Kyle grew up quickly and when 9/11 happened, he joined the military. He loved America and would defend her and his fellow soldiers, NO MATTER WHAT. He completed four tours and amassed an unheard of kill count of over 150; maybe even more. He finally had enough and came home to help with vets who are wounded in any matter of ways. One would be Kyle’s own killer.
Bradley Cooper is Kyle and his performance is nothing short of astonishing. He bulked up, adopted a convincing Texas drawl and has the swagger that Kyle would have had. But aside from his physical capabilities, he was thoughtful, smart and resourceful. But after four tours, it began to take a toll on him. Cooper plays Kyle not as a superman but as someone who wrestles with what he is and what he does. He hates it, takes no pride in it, but does it out of necessity. It is what he is trained to do and what he knows he NEEDS to do. His wife, Taya (Sienna Miller) understands but everyone eventually reaches their breaking point. Clearly the war that Kyle has bravely volunteered and the dehumanizing things he sees takes its toll on him. In one of the quieter and sad scenes, Kyle sits at a bar, stateside, drinking. He calls his wife on his cellphone and says he, “Needed some time.” Kyle proceeds to break down and weep. Cooper nails this scene, perfectly, and it broke my heart.
There are plenty of scenes in American Sniper that are tough to watch, especially what happens to people that are even perceived to have helped the American soldiers. Eastwood holds very little back, shows both sides and lets the viewers make up their own minds. Sienna Miller is radiant as Taya, as well. She is tough, too but has certain frailties that come through as well as intuitions especially the final scene of the film. Kyle is heading out for that fateful day which will be his last and her reaction to the skinny, pale man waiting for Kyle to go to the shooting range is chilling.
American Sniper was written by Jason Hall based on Kyle’s own book with Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice contributing and the script is packed with truly felt emotion and sadness in a world most of us would or will never experience, hopefully. It does it with grace, respect and pride and Eastwood’s direction is top notch. The action is well staged and authentic and the film will keep you glued to the screen. Kyle, in own opinion, was a hero and saved a lot of other brave soldier’s lives. He was a brave patriot, who believed in his country and the mission. People might not like that or agree with it, but for American Sniper it is the heart of this man and a masterpiece of filmmaking.
American Sniper- ***** out 5
American Sniper- Rated R for violence, war violence and carnage, language and adult situations
American Sniper- Run Time is 132 minutes