“There are three types of people in this world: wolves, sheep, and sheepdogs.” At least that’s what a young Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) is told by his father as they sit at the table for a family dinner.
His father insists that he be a sheepdog, one who will protect others from the wolf, but to never be a sheep, and always finish a fight. “American Sniper” is just that, a film about a man persistent on finishing his fight, at all costs.
Chris Kyle begins his life journey as a successful rodeo cowboy insistent that his life is meant to be more. After witnessing the attacks of 9/11, this fortifies his mind and motivates him to enlist as a US Navy SEAL.
He goes on to marry his wife Taya Renae (Sienna Miller) and shortly after is deployed into Iraq as a sniper. While there, he quickly produces a multitude of kills which earns him the nickname “The Legend” among his fellow SEAL’s and soon the entirety of the military.
However, with all his military success, he comes across his biggest challenge and threat in his personal life along with an enemy sniper attempting to collect the bounty that’s been placed on Kyle’s head. I don’t want to spoil the rest of the movie, but with a plot like this as the foundation you should know that it is really good and extremely worth seeing.
With no hesitation I can say that this is one of Bradley Cooper’s best films, paralleled only by “Silver Linings Playbook” with his role in “American Hustle” following narrowly behind. Cooper is at his best when he is seen around his family, and how the war has taken a toll on him mentally. The scenes with Cooper and Taya Renae are especially good to see due to the surplus of empathy you begin to feel for not only her, but their situation as a family.
Do you sympathize with Chris Kyle wanting to finish the fight in Iraq for his country and fellow troops or do you become engulfed in the at-home drama that stirs due to his lack of involvement with his wife and children even when home from tours? It’s hard to choose between, and that’s what makes “American Sniper” so good.
The war cast that surrounds him plays their role as well making the war scenes more fulfilling knowing the stories and lives of his fellow brothers in arms; their families, the women and children to come home to.
All this being said, the film is pretty decent from director Clint Eastwood. He possesses an adequate ability to successfully portray the lives of others through this biographical film. There are times when the story feels flat, and I didn’t get the feel of a biopic anymore.However, the film is a war-movie and where it thrives in acting and possesses decent story-telling, it lacks heavily in action. For most scenes, the action feels slow paced and not enough is shown where one feels like they are pulled into the war-zone.
The film’s best action is depicted through the sniping scene, that’s it. Yes, the movie is called “American Sniper”, but when going to see a war movie one expects action from all aspects of the battlefield. Don’t get me wrong, there are scenes when automatic weapons are thoroughly used in combat, but the fire fight just aren’t particularly interesting, unless a SEAL dies or Chris Kyle is in the heat of it.
All in all, Bradley Cooper more than successfully depicts Chris Kyle’s life from the way things are while at war and the strong correlation it has with his family, personal life and health. Where the film lacks in action, it gains in acting. Don’t be surprised if you see an Oscar nomination for Bradley Cooper. He’s just that good.