American Sniper tells the true story of Chris Kyle, an elite Navy Seal. Widely accepted to be the most lethal sniper in American Military history. Incredibly, he notched up 255 kills in four tours of Iraq. Resulting in numerous awards and becoming somewhat of a celebrity. But on his return to civilian life, the scars of battle had a deep psychological effect. Until he turned his focus on helping veterans in need. Tragically, it was whilst helping others that Chris Kyle paid the ultimate price.
It's fair to say, that American Sniper is not your usual war film format. At times it is deeply conflicted and disturbing. Mainly due to the outright focus being on the challenges faced by the individual. Both on tour and back home in the civilian world. How the choices made in battle reflect back into the family home and deep personal suffering. The reason for this is that the film is based on the autobiography of Chris Kyle himself. So the brutal honesty of the journey traveled by the man is painfully effective.
The genius behind the camera for American Sniper is Clint Eastwood. Now, Eastwood has a long list of amazing films to his name. Each displaying his no-nonsense thoroughly detailed style of Directing. But American Sniper is Eastwood at his very best. The only catch is, Clint Eastwood does love an American Hero story. So there is an uncomfortable overly patriotic feel that weaves throughout the film.
For me, Clint Eastwood always seems to get the very best from his actors. Now, American Sniper is no exception to this rule. Bradley Cooper really throws everything into playing Chris Kyle. Not only by bulking up significantly for the role. But by displaying his real talent in playing such a complex and challenging role. Generally the rest of the cast don't get much chance to shine. However, Sienna Miller is exceptional in delivering career-best performance playing Kyles wife.
Now, if you are looking for an out and out action war movie, maybe choose a film like Extraction instead. Now I am not saying there's no action at all because there are heaps of impressive combat scenes littered throughout. But American Sniper is much more than just shootouts, glory, and explosions.
This is a quality piece of cinema that should be consumed and digested with the respect it deserves. For me, American Sniper is an outstanding film. The film was consistently ranked as a top ten choice by critics and is Eastwood's highest-grossing film to date. So if you are looking for a powerful true story with brutal realism, give American Sniper a watch on Amazon Prime. Just be prepared for lots of flag flying.