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American Sniper – Review

 

 

Clint Eastwood’s latest film is a powerful visual tale of a real life natural born killer, and is packed with claustrophobic tension, hard hitting drama and intense performances.

American Sniper
Theatrical release poster

Based on the memoir, American Sniper is a biopic of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, officially the most lethal sniper in the history of the United States Military. One of the biggest problems I have with watching films like this, is that most of the time I feel that they have been made simply to raise patriotism amongst audience members in the hope that it will increase the chances of award success. While I did go into the cinema holding firmly on to this belief, I came out with a different outlook in relation to this film. While the film is a straight up linear biopic, it never failed to lose my interest in both the story and the mind-set of Kyle himself. I found myself captivated by the film’s intense atmosphere and psychological power during its phenomenally constructed sniper scenes and battle sequences. Eastwood’s directing in the film is as sharp, accurate and proficient as Kyle was with his sniper rifle. Not since Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker has a war film grabbed my attention and thrilled me for its entire duration.

BradleyCooperAmericanSniper
Bradley Cooper as Navy SEAL Chris Kyle

One of the film’s highest points was the lead performance of actor Bradley Cooper. Cooper gives us a resonating insight into the life and mentality of Kyle, his time in Iraq and his family life. With the announcement of the 87th Academy Awards a few days ago, I was glad to see Cooper’s name amongst the Best Actor nominees; however, I feel he will have some tough competition from the likes of Steve Carrell, Michael Keaton and Benedict Cumberbatch. Cooper is the film’s driving force and provides a great enhancement to the film’s already superior direction. Another performance that was of equal brilliance was that of Sienna Miller who plays the role of Kyle’s wife Taya. The chemistry between Cooper and Miller is engrossing and makes the relationship between Kyle and Taya a great subplot.

With the Oscars revealed American Sniper finds its name in six of the major categories and is in my opinion a strong contender against the likes of Foxcatcher, The Imitation Game and Birdman. Overall, I think American Sniper achieved what it set out to do and more, as it is a fitting tribute to an American hero, a fierce war thriller and a sorrowful drama about family life during war time. So I close by saying that Eastwood’s American Sniper certainly has its place up with the greats of the war genre and I wish it the best for award success.

RATING: 4/5

FINAL WORD: American Sniper is an intense thriller, masterfully directed by Clint Eastwood and enhanced by mesmerising performances from Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller.

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