Starring: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Kyle Gallner, Ben Reed
Directed By: Clint Eastwood
Written By: Jason Hall
Rating: R (US) Running Time: 2 hr 12 min
My local theater is a short 5 minute walk away, and I usually catch the earliest available showing of a movie on Saturday morning to avoid the crowds. I find most people aren’t in the film watching mood around 9am, which suits me just fine and cuts down on the potential interruptions made by cell phones, talkers, babies, and folks with thimble sized bladders. But, on Saturday the 17th of January 2015, I walked into a packed theater at 9:35am for American Sniper. And to my amazement, a crowd of people ready to sit quietly for two hours and watch a film honoring the life and service of ‘the most lethal sniper in U.S. History‘, Chris Kyle, played with a great deal of skill and respect by Bradley Cooper.
The mandate for this biographical story was simple; honor Chris ‘The Legend’ Kyle’s service to God, family, and country. Keep it simple, and don’t try to inject any political nuance about the legality of the Iraq war, or even try to portray the man as anything other than the stand up guy he seemingly was. American Sniper does just that, because it has the right director. Clint Eastwood’s conservative leaning political views are not a state secret (remember his 2012 Republican National Convention appearance?) And that mindset (irregardless of whether you agree with it or not) combined with Eastwood’s talents behind the camera are a perfect match for Jason Hall’s screenplay.
The story cuts together, perhaps too quickly, the main bullet points of Chris’s life, from growing up in Odessa, Texas, to his enlistment and training as a Navy SEAL, and marriage to his wife, Taya (Sienna Miller). From there the movie jumps back and forth between tours in Iraq and some excellently staged battle sequences, and Chris’s home life as he spends time with his family. The movie’s main objective is to catalog the highly decorated Navy SEAL’s achievements during and after his military service, and any content regarding the lingering effects of war are only given a light touch, and are resolved quickly. This is basically a movie American audiences want to see. It’s apple pie and fireworks that honors a genuine hero, and spares everyone any unpleasant, and arguably unnecessary details.
If you’re looking for a well made war film that delivers great action, and honors the service of American troops, regardless of the politics and reasoning behind the war in Iraq, then you’ll find this movie very entertaining. Those with more left leaning views on the ‘war on terror’ might find this movie’s narrow focus on the conflict a little annoying. The movie is rated R due to its graphic battle sequences.
The battle sequences are really nicely put together, and look great on the big screen. At home a HD viewing on your TV is the way to go if you wait for the rental. Watching this movie on a portable screen is not recommended.
Bradley Cooper’s performance, and the nicely staged battle sequences.