American Sniper (2014)

american sniper poster 2014 movie bradley cooper
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Good looking and sounding

So-so story

Movie Info

Movie Name:  American Sniper

Studio:  Village Roadshow Pictures

Genre(s):  Drama/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  November 11, 2014

MPAA Rating:  R

american sniper chris kyle rifle bradley cooper

Split second decisions over and over again

Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) believes in his country. When he enlists in the military in 1998 after the U.S. embassy bombings in Tanzania and Kenya, he becomes a Navy SEAL and finds his place as a sniper. With a high level of accuracy and an unwavering sense of duty, Kyle becomes a military hero but also attracts the attention of the enemies of the United States. Chris is fighting the War on Terror but also a war at home where he finds himself struggling with civilian life and keeping his marriage to his wife Taya (Sienna Miller) strong.

Directed by Clint Eastwood, American Sniper is a biopic drama based on Kyle’s 2012 book. The movie was critically acclaimed and won an Academy Award for Best Sound Editing with nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor (Cooper), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, and Best Sound Mixing.

American Sniper isn’t really my type of movie. I’m not a huge fan of biopics in general because they genuinely are written in a way that inflates the subjects to an unrealistic high or grandeur by the end of the film. While American Sniper isn’t a bad film, it definitely is this type of film.

american sniper bradley cooper sienna miller chris kyle

Honey…I’m having a baby. Is it a good time to talk about the war?

The movie (like most biopics) takes liberties where it doesn’t really have any need to and dramatizes already dramatic events. It made the battles more personal by elevating the “war” between Kyle and the sniper Mustafa, created characters like the Butcher (who was a composite of terrorists), and manipulated events for storytelling purposes. The war was dramatic enough, and it didn’t need the added drama. It also was sometimes a bit rocky on if it was a coming home movie or if it was a movie about the war. I realize for Kyle’s character, it was about both at the same time, but it felt issue driven and that it could have been more focused on Kyle’s post-war recovery and attempts to cope with what he saw.

Cooper is good as Kyle. He bulked up for the role and is believable as a military man while he also is capable to pull off the more sensitive scenes in the film involving his relationship with his wife and children. Sienna Miller has a less inspired role as the dutiful wife and doesn’t really get much time to expand that classification.

american sniper veteran services bradley cooper chris kyle

This seems to be the more important part of the movie…and it plays more as an ironic footnote

The movie battle scenes are intense and that does help propel the story and let you understand the stress that someone in Kyle’s position goes through. It is shot stylishly and has a realism to it. It is this reason that a lot of attention was drawn to the “fake baby” scene which has Cooper and Miller acting with a very obvious baby doll…it doesn’t deserve the attention it got, but it still was a stupid move.

American Sniper is one of those movies that I feel tries a bit too hard to appeal to the masses. It is a war movie for guys’ guys and a relationship movie for couples. It is a war movie for veterans and patriotic…but it seems to lack the heart and doesn’t feel deep enough where it needs to be. Once again, it isn’t a bad film, but it isn’t a very complex film when it is a very complex situation for people caught up in war and civilian life.

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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