Saturday, 11 July 2015

American Sniper film review

Went to see this film with my friend Aj this week at the Leeds/Bradford Odeon.

IMDB says: 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.

Still of Bradley Cooper and Madeleine McGraw in American Sniper (2014)

In this Clint Eastwood (Million Dollar Baby, Gran Torino) directed and Jason Hall (Spread, Paranoia), Chris Kyle (book), Scott McEwen (book) and Jim DeFelice (book) written film, Bradley Cooper (The Hangover, Silver Linings Playbook) starts as Chris Kyle, the legendary Navy SEAL sniper.  Sienna Miller (Stardust, Casanova) plays Taya, his wife, and Keir O'Donnell (Wedding Crashers, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) his younger brother Jeff.

Cowboy turned SEAL to help in the fight against terrorism, Kyle realises his potential as a deadly sniper, but with each tour in Afghanistan he has to battle personal demons that threaten to destroy the family he leaves behind.

Starting with his life before war, the audience can see Kyle as just a man, with a complicated childhood, we see that he has to work hard to get what he wants in life, even with something as simple as convincing the woman he loves that she is worth his commitment.  But it is when Kyle is shipped out, we see that all his training cannot deviate him from his personality, i.e. that he wants to help save people and serve his country.

With believable violence and many harrowing scenes, the effects of what he is doing and has seen, is portrayed disturbingly in Kyle's home life.  Cooper excels, not just in the breadth of the role, but in the minute nods to the fact that Kyle is just a man trying to be the best he can be.

(Spoilers follow at this point)

The poignancy of the fact that one man who saved so many, not just on the battlefield of war but on the battlefield of PTSD, should lose his life in such a tragic way, but I think he went as he lived, trying to help another.

An on-point honour to an admirable man.

Trivia: Footage of the real funeral of Chris Kyle was used in the first half of the end credits.  In order to bulk up for the role, Cooper ate 8,000 calories a day, worked out 4 hours a day for several months and trained with Navy SEAL sniper Kevin Lacz.  The actual Chris Kyle 2100 yard (1920 m) shot was against an insurgent with a RPG (rocket propelled grenade) that was going to be fired on friendly forces (Cooper could only hit 600m) and Kyle once said that if a film was ever to be made about him, the only filmmaker it would be was Clint Eastwood and no-one else.

Tagline:  One bullet can tell the story.                               7.5/10

Bradley Cooper and Taya Kyle at event of American Sniper (2014)

#AmericanSniper  #BradleyCooper  #Clint Eastwood #ChrisKyle

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