“American Sniper,” a biopic based on the book “American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History,” chronicles the life of Chris Kyle, played by Bradley Cooper. Cooper packed on quite a few pounds to physically resemble the formal SEAL sniper, and gives a magnetic performance that holds the film together.
I can’t help but compare this film to 2009’s Oscar winner for Best Picture, “The Hurt Locker.” Both films center on characters who go through the atrocities of modern war and struggles to deal with life after combat. Although “The Hurt Locker” was a fictional and dramatized account of a bomb defusal unit, and “American Sniper” is a comparatively more accurate portrayal of the story of Chris Kyle, as a film, the former is a level above the latter in its storytelling and it grips the audience at the very beginning and never lets go.
Clint Eastwood is back on his game after some sub-par films such as “Jersey Boys” and “J.Edgar.” The film is well-shot and well-edited, putting the audience right in the middle of Kyle’s world. There’s nothing ground-breaking here, just very solid film making.
At over two hours, the film is a tad too long, and would have been a bore if it weren’t for Cooper and Sienna Miller’s excellent performances. While I don’t quite agree with nomination of the film and Cooper for the Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Actor, respectively, it’s definitely worth a watch.