HOLLYWOOD—Director Clint Eastwood knows how to craft riveting cinema. From “Million Dollar Baby” to “Gran Torino,” Eastwood has proven himself to be a master behind the lens. His latest foray, “American” Sniper” chronicles the tale of Navy Seal Chris Kyle and his multiple tours during the Iraq War.
Is this an action film? Is it a drama, a war flick? I would say it’s a mix of all of those things, but it delivers some raw emotions in the moviegoer that is difficult to comprehend. Bradley Cooper stars as Kyle, the war veteran whose tour of duties in Iraq became a badge of honor not only for him, but the nation he fought for.
The opening scene in the movie is so edge of your seat thrilling, you find yourself almost screaming at the theater screen, will he or won’t he. This is a child, could he really inflict such violence and if so was it the right thing to do?
Cooper has delivered some Oscar-caliber work in the recent years with “Silver Linings Playbook” and “American Hustle,” but what he brings to “American Sniper” is a raw-depiction of war; in combat and post combat. He not only exhibits the complexities of a damaged character, he embodies the physical transformation to meet the depiction of a bulked up Kyle.
I’ve seen plenty of war movies, but none to this degree, Kyle is a man of stature. He fights for his country with an iron fist, and holds a strong regard for his stature for his country.
He’s lethal with a firearm, and a force to be reckoned with. The polarizing aspect of Eastwood’s film is its inability to really allow the audience to get inside the protagonist’s mind until the later half of the movie. He’s closed off to nearly every character in the film, including his wife portrayed by Sienna Miller, who does deliver an Oscar-caliber performance, even in her brief moments on the screen.
Don’t discredit the amount of time on the screen from Miller. Her work can evoke similar emotions to what Viola Davis did with her limited screen-time in the flick “Doubt.”
The more she attempts to breakthrough to her husband, the more he pulls away, even in the midst of the couple having a child. The violence presented to the audience of the Iraq War is not sugarcoated here; we see, the good, the bad and the very ugly, thanks to Eastwood who doesn’t hold back.
“American Sniper” does something many war flicks fail to do; it leaves you conflicted, haunted and with a whirlwind of various emotions.