Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper” gives a full spectrum, intriguing perspective on war.
Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle’s pinpoint accuracy saves countless lives on the battlefield and turns him into a legend. Back home to his wife and kids after four tours of duty, however, Chris finds that it is the war he can’t leave behind.
When it comes to the subject matter of war, it seems to be one of the most saturated film genres. With so many films about the subject it’s hard for some not to get lost in the weeds but every now and then, there’s a film that stands out. “American Sniper” is one of those stand out films that is a must see for most any adult viewer.
Cinematics(Plot, Acting, Cinematography, etc.): 4
Clint Eastwood creates his well known cinematic magic with “American Sniper.” Scene by scene, the progression of the film is fluid and engaging. Briefly starting with a backstory of Navy Seal Chris Kyle, the film moves through Kyle’s four tours in Iraq while building his character and family life in between. This style of plot progression does an amazing job of providing consistent suspense and action while also deeply developing the characters. With every deployment, I became more connected to Chris Kyle as I learned about his home life in between tours. Seeing his strength on the battlefield and vulnerabilities at home was an intriguing look at the war as a whole and the inner workings of the soldiers that comprise that war.
Sprinkled in between the story of Chris Kyle were many controversially sensitive subjects pertaining to war. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is explored in a greater depth than most war films. The disorder makes up part of Kyle’s character and is responsible for most of his struggles at home. While his heroic nature is clearly shown through a legendary like mythos among soldiers, that nature is grounded through his own struggle with the disorder. This allows many viewers to connect with this larger than life character. The other more controversial topic is the frequent discussion of war. The question of its merits come into play as Chris’ “fight for freedom” is weighed against the effects of its impact on his family life.
While the plot and characters certainly have their significance, “American Sniper” wouldn’t be complete without captivating cinematography and performances. Every scene seems to capture the essence of the situation and the character. Whether it be a grueling sandstorm or a quiet isolated corner where an enemy approaches, every scene carries its own significance. Bradley Cooper’s performance supplements each scene with his reactionary responses to each situation. When it comes to the character of Chris Kyle, I think this may be Bradley Cooper’s greatest performance to date.
Entertainment Value: 4
With such a dynamic, well composed film, it’s obvious that it would aim to please. The high-intensity action is balanced with intermissions of dramatic character development. This is more entertaining to me than a constant action show because it gives you a moment to decompress and take in the situation rather than being overloaded.
Overall “American Sniper” was a well-balanced film filled with entertainment throughout. I was fully engaged from beginning to end.
There were many moments throughout the film that were both memorable and worth a second take. The scenes on the battlegrounds were both vivid and fast-paced so if not watching closely, there could be some intricate details that you miss.
Outside of the details you may miss, “American Sniper” is just a fun film to watch. The action is gritty and raw which is captivating for war drawn audiences. The only critique I would have when it comes to “Rewatchability” would be that the journey is so impactful for the first viewing that a lot of the luster would be lost with repeat viewings. This in no way discredits the film, just an impartial observation.
"American Sniper" is much more than a war film. It's a fully encompassing, biographical drama that shows the struggles on and off the battlefield. Action lovers will get their fix from the beautifully harsh imagery of war and drama lovers will enjoy the deep character development that comes from a family's struggle with their father's PTSD.