American Sniper

AMERICAN SNIPER (15)

D: Clint Eastwood
Warner Bros/Village Roadshow/Mad Chance/Malpaso (Clint Eastwood, Robert Lorenz, Andrew Lazar, Peter Morgan & Bradley Cooper)
USA 🇺🇸 2014
132 mins
 
War/Biopic
 
W: Jason Hall [based on the book by Chris Kyle, Scott McEwen & Jim DeFelice]
DP: Tom Stern
Ed: Joel Cox & Gary D. Roach
 
Bradley Cooper (Chris Kyle), Sienna Miller (Taya Kyle), Luke Grimes (Marc Lee), Jake McDorman (Ryan 'Biggles' Job), Corey Hardrict (Dandridge)

Firstly, I'm gonna start by saying that this is a film review, so I'm going to keep try and keep politics out of this as far as I can. There's still conflict ongoing in the Middle East and it's a very contentious subject about the validity of US involvement. This is a film review, nothing more and nothing less.
American Sniper has many similarities with 2009's The Hurt Locker, though the latter follows a bomb disposal ace during his tour of duty whilst the former concentrates on, well, it doesn't take a genius.
This biopic of Chris Kyle does get the Hollywood treatment with a rather heavy dose of patriotism and does take liberty with some of the facts, but it has to be said that Bradley Cooper does a fantastic job portraying the Texan marksman. The story follows Kyle's life, from his strict upbringing to his brief stint as a rodeo cowboy. He soon enlists with the Marines and following the events of 9/11 sets his sights, quite literally, on protecting his military brothers.
The transformation of Kyle's character as the film goes in is what holds the drama, as he becomes less of a man, husband, father and more a soulless, killing automaton before he finally does something he never bargained on. Quitting.
Cooper's performance carries this movie, but the supporting cast are also great, especially Sienna Miller, with a surprisingly good performance.
There will be some who think this glorifies violence, war or is merely an American version of the film within a film in Inglorious Basterds, but this is a genuine work of craft from director Clint Eastwood, with tense action scenes punctuated with atmospheric photography, editing and sound which thrust you into the heat of the battle and the dilemma of the man behind the sniper sights every time he has make the decision of whether or not to pull the trigger.
On another note, there was some rather harsh criticism around the time of release about the use of a plastic baby prop in a couple of scenes. Yes, it does look pretty bad if you're eagle-eyed enough to spot it, but it's still more convincing that the CGI baby in Twilight.
8/10

Bradley Cooper in American Sniper
Bradley Cooper in American Sniper
Did You Know:
In order to bulk up 40+ pounds, Bradley Cooper ate around 6,000 calories a day, which calculates to eating a meal every fifty-five minutes. Using his own trainer, he worked out four hours a day for several months. Along with the massive intake of food and intense workouts, Cooper's preparation also included twice-daily lessons with a vocal coach, as well as many hours spent studying footage of Chris Kyle. When it came to pointing a rifle, Cooper trained with Navy SEAL sniper Kevin Lacz, who served with Kyle, and was a consultant on the movie.

Award Wins & Nominations:


MILSTEAD MOVIE AWARDS:

Wins: 1 (Best Sound Effects Editing)

Nominations: 5 (Best Actor in a Leading Role; Best Director; Best Screenplay - Adaptation; Best Film Editing; Best Sound)


OSCARS:

Wins: 1 (Best Sound Editing)

Nominations: 5 (Best Picture; Best Actor in a Leading Role; Best Screenplay - Adaptation; Best Film Editing; Best Sound)


BAFTAS

Wins: none

Nominations: 2 (Best Screenplay Adaptation; Best Sound)


OTHER WINS:

AFI Awards (Movie of the Year); Critics Choice Awards (Best Actor - Action); Denver Film Critics (Best Film, Best Actor); Golden Reel Awards (Best Sound Editing); Golden Schroeder (Most Overrated Movie of the Year); Hollywood Post Alliance (Outstanding Sound); Japanese Academy Awards (Best Foreign Film); MTV Movie Awards (Best Male Performance); National Board of Review (Top 10 Films of the Year, Best Director); OFTAS (Best Sound)