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8/10
Keep Both Eyes Open
ThomasDrufke16 January 2015
Bradley Cooper is simply one of the elite actors working today. He has now been nominated for 3 acting Oscars. It's debatable whether or not he was better than other actors this year, I will judge that once I have seen all the films, but he is definitely Oscar worthy in American Sniper. But he's not the only great thing about this film. Clint Eastwood does a great job directing and the editing and special effects are top notch. It's one of the most intense films I have seen this year and so I have no problem with some of the nominations this movie received.

It's really just an incredible story. At times the film can be heartbreaking. Almost half of my theater walked out weeping. I didn't cry, but man was this a tough one to watch. The fact that all of this (presumably) actually happened just makes it that much more difficult. One of the key scenes from the trailer begins the film and it sets the tone for just how intense it will be. Eastwood didn't really hold back on the brutality of killing over a hundred people, and the aftermath of what it does to a person. I initially thought the back and forth between the tours and his family life would take away from the experience but it really didn't. Sienna Miller did a very good job of giving us that emotion without overdoing it.

Bradley Cooper bulked up and also brought the emotional gravitas it takes to lead this type of film. Chris Kyle gets literally lost in fighting this war that he doesn't realize how much this is negatively impacting his family and Cooper perfectly portrayed that. I also don't know if I have seen PTSD better displayed than it was here. Of course I wouldn't actually know how that feels but I do know that the subtly with which Cooper portrayed it was very effective. They also didn't make this person out to be too much of a hero. I appreciate that they didn't take killing this many people lightly.

I also agree with the way Eastwood decided to end the film. Without spoilers I don't think there's any other way you could have served the film and it's real life characters better. American Sniper is a difficult film to watch, but it's one of the better ones this year.

+Cooper's multidimensional performance

+Story structure

+Eastwood's directing

+Doesn't hold back with the top notch editing

8.4/10
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8/10
A solid story based on true events and characters
BeneCumb15 January 2015
Due to the U.S. participation in Iraq and Afghanistan and related topics and issues, the two last decades have seen dozens of movies dealing with them - similarly to the decades after the war in Vietnam. Not many of them are good, focusing mostly on shootings and explosions, but American Sniper can be regarded as one of the best in its field.

This is thanks to the director Clint Eastwood, and the star Bradley Cooper, above all. Acts of war and human approach are nicely in balance, everything seems realistic, the main character is no dumb killing machine without any feelings, war is not "fun", etc., often lacking in movies alike. True, the movie is practically focused on Cooper's character Chris Kyle, there are no comparable performances, but I could hardly find glorification/justification of the U.S. military involvement in the movie in question - wars are initiated by political and/or economic interests, the military is supposed to obey the orders coming from government departments. And there is no place for reasoning during battles - either you kill, or you / your fellows get killed.

All in all, a serious and solid movie. I liked it more than e.g. The Hurt Locker or Zero Dark Thirty.
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8/10
A beautifully well crafted action movie by the great Clint Eastwood
bbickley13-921-5866426 December 2014
Good work on Bradley Cooper's part as well, putting on the weight and getting into character to play Chris Kyle, a sniper for the navy seals who did four tours in Iraq protecting his fellow troops by being a legendary shot. the Movie explores Kyle having to deal with a rival sniper who was keeping him from doing the job of protecting his troops and having to deal with coming home to his wife and kids feeling that his mission was incomplete.

Old man Eastwood mixed action, drama and humor in a way only a legendary filmmaker could put together. The man still has the ability to tell a compelling story.

Bradley Cooper showed a range that is more Oscar worthy than what he did in Silver Linings Playbook.

It was nothing but enjoyable from beginning to end. Worth watching.
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Trash propaganda
tcnuccb31 August 2022
Fascist Clint Eastwood was so enamoured by the murderous actions of a psychotic war criminal that he decided to make a film attempting to glorify him, imperialist America, and war. I can't even begin to imagine the lack of morality and sociopathic world view you would need to have in order to find this appealing. Chris Kyle is a vile, disgusting human being. Clint Eastwood is a vile, disgusting human being. It also contains one of the most laughable attempts at utilizing a fake baby I've ever seen. All of that aside, it's just an absolutely godawful display of filmmaking. Everything from the camera work, to the acting, to the cinematography, to the sound design is bland, bloated, and offensive. Truly one of the worst films ever made.
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7/10
Gripping
Tweetienator9 April 2019
Fine movie (based on a real story) about a skilled and strong but broken hero and the price war takes on all sides. Good.
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9/10
Brutal and Powerful; American Sniper ranks among the best of the year
trublu21519 December 2014
American Sniper is Clint Eastwood's harrowing take on Chris Kyle's life and his service in the Navy as a SEAL sniper who killed nearly 200 enemy soldiers. The film is relentlessly violent and disturbing but honors the life of the late Chris Kyle in a very admirable way. It doesn't show this man as an invincible legend, it shows him as a mere man with a heart and soul that are clearly broken due to his sacrifice for his country. Bradley Cooper delivers the best performance of his career as Chris Kyle. Cooper didn't merely bulk up for the role, he became this man without any hesitation and doesn't hit a false note. Clint Eastwood proves that he can still deliver a phenomenal film even in his mid-eighties. It isn't only impressive for his age, but American Sniper is an impressive film in general. It doesn't wallow in classic war film clichès, it tells Kyle's story the way he told it in the book and while some creative liberties were taken in telling the story regarding pacing, it is an excellent film. It isn't an all out war film like The Hurt Locker, it is a heavy drama with plenty of gut wrenching scenes both on and off the battle field. The most interesting part of this film is the parallels between Kyle's life as a sniper and Kyle's deteriorating life state side. It is an interesting dynamic to add to a film like this and echoes past films from the 70s such as Coming Home and The Deer Hunter. On a technical level, American Sniper sores with great cinematography that is a bit more colorful when compared to Eastwood's past films and excellent sound design. You see every wound and hear every gunshot with realistic velocity. It is a truly great cinematic experience. Overall, American Sniper is a great film that will tug at your heart strings much like last year's Lone Survivor and even goes one step beyond that film and gives us grade A entertainment with grade A acting. It stands as one of the best films of the year.
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7/10
Good Film
billcr1210 January 2015
Bradley Cooper stars as Chris Kyle, the most prolific sniper in American military history. It begins with the thirty year old Kyle as a cowboy type who is searching for meaning in his life when he becomes a navy seal. After rigorous training he is sent to Iraq and becomes a legendary sniper. The war scenes look very similar to Stanley Kubrick's often used ones in Full Metal Jacket. The camera tracks from behind the soldiers as they move forward. The action is fast paced and well done by director Clint Eastwood. The melodramatic family moments are fairly typical, with the suffering wife holding the home front while hubby keeps the world safe for democracy. I found Sierra Miller annoying as Kyle's spouse, but Cooper was cast right in the lead role. Although a bit too long at two hours and fifteen minutes, it is still one of the better films of 2014.
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7/10
An Engrossing Film! Cooper is Excellent!
namashi_112 January 2015
Based on Chris Kyle's autobiography American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History, 'American Sniper' Directed by the Legendary Clint Eastwood, is an engrossing biopic, about a true hero. Its a film about courage, love & patriotism. And Bradley Cooper shines as Kyle, giving an excellent performance overall.

'American Sniper' Synopsis: 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.

'American Sniper' is bold & disturbing, the horrific violence which happened in real life, is equally off-putting on screen. The excessive bloodshed/gore makes you feel repulsed. But, that's the reality it depicts, and hence this biopic works. Even the sequences involving with Kyle & family back home, offer moments of genuine warmth & subtle sadness.

Kyle was a man of pure charisma & bravery, A true patriot, who fought & served for his country. And his sudden untimely death, by a veteran he was trying to help, is nothing but a massive shame. But as they say, the mighty shall fall & that's exactly what happened with the late/great Kyle.

Jason Hall's Adapted Screenplay is honest & affecting. Eastwood's Direction is good. He has captured the intense war sequences, as well as the sequences back home, with conviction. Cinematography by Tom Stern & Editing by Joel Cox & Gary D. Roach, are passable. War Sequences are impressively executed.

Performance-Wise: Cooper has emerged into a versatile actor & 'American Sniper' proves it. As Kyle, Cooper sinks his teeth into the part & delivers a measured performance. Sienna Miller as Taya Renae Kyle, his wife, is wonderful. Her emotional breakdowns appear real.

On the whole, 'American Sniper' isn't for the faint-hearted, but this is a tale worth watching, for those who can absorb violence. And for Kyle, Rest In Peace.
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9/10
Fantastic - Views On The War Aside, A Great Movie
dongillette113 January 2015
I spent 27 years in the US Army, was in Operation Desert Storm (the original), was vehemently opposed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and thought this movie was one of the best military/war movies I've ever seen. The realism was there, Bradley Cooper was phenomenal, the angst of a soldier during battle was portrayed brilliantly, the decisions we ask kids to make are real and they were realistically shown on screen, and as this film makes clear--war isn't a walk in the park. Anybody who thinks Bradley Cooper is a flash in the pan is sadly mistaken; this guy is the real thing. Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now, Charlie Sheen in Platoon, and now Bradley Cooper in American Sniper. You've got to go all the way back to Gregory Peck in Pork Chop Hill or George C. Scott in Patton to get even close to an actor that gave a better performance in this genre. I saw it twice. Couldn't get through it the first time and had to walk out- -I got so damned furious at George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld for murdering all these innocent kids I couldn't watch anymore. Once I got past that I went back to see it again and trust me--it's phenomenal.
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6/10
A war movie through the eyes of a sharpshooter
DavidLindahl7 April 2016
American Sniper is an American war film directed by Clint Eastwood and based on the self-biography about the sharpshooter Chris Kyle. Chris is American who dreams of becoming a cowboy but after the events of 11 September, he decides to join the Navy Seals. Throughout the film we follow him on his trips to Iraq to fight against the terrorists, and we also see him during his trips home to the USA in between.

American Sniper feels very American and patriotic. The film has more or less divided USA in two sections, while some praise the film for its portrayal of the American soldiers' heroic efforts, others feels it hails and embellish a devastating war. I feel there is some truth to both sides because on one hand it shows the brutality of the terrorists ways, even against their own population, but it also shows the American soldiers breaking in to homes of innocent people and using force and violence to get their way.

Clint Eastwood has done well with the direction because we truly experience the soldiers' fear of never knowing who to trust, whether it's grown man or a small child. The war scenes are well made and they don't feel shaky or edited too fast just to force a feeling of action. Bradley Cooper does a really good job, probably the best I've seen of him so far, but I still wish we could have gotten to know his character even more. He's obviously a patriotic American but what really motivates him besides the love for his country, is sometimes hard to understand.

Overall, I feel the film is OK and worth watching because it actually shows the brutality that was the war in Iraq, but I still can't help feeling that sometimes it seems Clint Eastwood had to bow down a little too much before Kyles' family. It appears they couldn't include some scenes just because his family didn't approve. As a story American Sniper doesn't feel unique or contributing in some new way for us, the audience, but I still feel you can watch the film and make up your own mind.

David Lindahl - www.filmografen.se
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9/10
Epitaph of Great American Hero is Eastwood's Best Film
AudioFileZ9 January 2015
Few times does a movie remain entertainment yet tell a deep truth, American Sniper manages just that. If one wanted a recent definition of a American Patriot hero it's effectively brought to life by the masterful direction of Clint Eastwood. This movie will be his crowning achievement in a much celebrated career. Such a feat could not be accomplished with just any story however. The life of Chris Kyle, and what he stood for, makes a perfect synergy.

Bradley Cooper's amazingly real depiction of a "complicated, yet simple Texas cowboy" breathes life into a story surrounded by the darkness of war. It single-handedly makes that phrase "The Greatest Generation" as one that didn't end after WWII. It wouldn't be a stretch to say Coopers got a lock on best actor after seeing the film.

American Sniper is rare in that it feels brutality honest yet palatable. While folks such as me led a very normal life stateside men just like Chris Kyle were laying everything on the line for the very belief of good we were enjoying. One can't help but feel humbled by what these men accomplished. War is the worst of humanity without doubt, but within war the best of America often rises above both evil and politics. Chris Kyle was assuredly one of the finest examples in all of American history of such and American Sniper is a fine testament of which we all can be proud. See this movie for any number of reasons, but take away the best we as Americans stand for.
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Top-Notch Directing and a Marvelous Lead Performance
Michael_Elliott10 February 2015
American Sniper (2014)

**** (out of 4)

Thrilling, tense and dramatic telling of Chris Kyle's (Bradley Cooper) rise from a cowboy without much direction in his life to becoming the deadliest sniper in U.S. history.

Director Clint Eastwood has made countless great movies in his career and even tackled the war drama in brilliant fashion with LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA. This film here could have been clichéd in so many ways but thankfully a director with such masterful direction can take a familiar story like war and its impact on someone and make it feel fresh, tight and original. Since movies began, the war genre has been one of the most popular and they continue to pump them out yearly so trying to find a fresh way to tell a story is always a challenge but Eastwood and company really pull it off.

American SNIPER is certainly about the war but it's main focus is telling the story of this American hero. The main goal of the screenplay is to show people what a special person Kyle was and balancing his personal drama and the war stuff was so wonderfully done that both story lines contained some real drama and one wasn't overshadowed by the other. I think that's the most accomplished thing Eastwood does here. Making sure that the war at home is just as intense as the war in Iraq. Another major plus is that, on a technical level, the film is flawless as it contains some of the year's best cinematography, a touching music score and some of the best sound effects out there.

The wartime scenes are all shot extremely well and I think the best thing about them is the feeling the director shows in the fact that these men are really in a trap not knowing where the next bullet is going to come from. The scenes of Kyle doing his job were full of tension as were the scenes where we get more gunfire. There's a sequence early on, highlighted in the trailer, were a kid possibly has a bomb and this here is perfectly handled. The ending is also incredibly intense and the terrific editing here really helps build up the tension of the combat zone.

What really pushes the movie from the opening scene to the very last is the terrific performance by Cooper who turns in his greatest work to date. I'm not sure how many people could have predicted that Cooper, who was mostly playing comedy roles, would turn into such a fine dramatic actor but he's turning into one of the most dependable actors out there. He's simply wonderful here and manages to really come across as a tortured person. The film shows Kyle from various points in his life. His wild younger days. His rise through the Seals. Of course, some of the most talked about scenes deal with the depression and anxiety that starts to set in. We've seen many actors deal with the "struggling vet returning home" and Cooper manages to bring a real depth to the character.

American SNIPER isn't going to end up being the best movie on 2014 but it's certainly a very impressive film. Technically it's quite sound and Eastwood once again proves why he's one of the greatest director's out there. As for Cooper's performance, it's certainly a terrific one and overall this is a great film that leaves the viewer with a lot to think about and be thankful for.
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9/10
Intense, Emotional, Controversial and yet Engaging
nick-sultana1 February 2015
When it comes to true story films, there are times where film-makers try to add more or less into what really happened in the event being told. In this case, Clint Eastwood's American Sniper has already contracted not only positive acclaim but a stir of negativity and controversy that surrounds the way Kyle was really like in life. Some say he had lost his mind in the war for peace while others say he was caught up in the emotional aftermath after service but Eastwood has stated that his film is "the biggest anti-war statement any film can make," and said that "the fact of what war does to the family and the people who have to go back into civilian life like Chris Kyle did"

What AS tells is the true life figure Chris Kyle who served as the American military's 'lethal sniper' who has made more kills in his duty of tours during the Iraq war period after 9/11. It chronicles how Chris became a true American to protect his homeland and the aftermath of serving his tours when he came home to his small growing family, leading up to the final hours of his life.

Pros:

+ Bradley Cooper's portrayal of Chris Kyle is indeed a new height for his career, he gives a performance that can be described as gripping, tense and at times

+ The action sequences are all done well, but at times it can be tense, violent and confronting for some.

+ The emotional connection between the main character and his family, that the final scene that will either break you or make you undecided.

Cons:

  • The controversy that surrounds it, it can make the film an exaggerated lie or truth to what Kyle was like in reality but again it is showing what war can do on people on the front-line and home.


OVERALL: Despite the controversy it has gained by writers , the film is indeed a strong acting showcase for Cooper while leaving audiences both open and more aware of the effects of war on human kind. Go in with an open mind and see for yourself for what you would think that made Chris Kyle a 'lethal sniper' for this country. If you had liked The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty and Machine Gun Preacher (not a war film but somewhat similar to Kyle's story) you will enjoy this.
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10/10
'If you think that this war isn't changing you you're wrong.'
gradyharp19 April 2015
Why do we as a species just keep killing, making war, destroying countries, making surviving soldiers' minds scared and dysfunctional? For those of us who have been through extended combat in wars throughout the last century and into the present answers to those questions escape us. But despite the lurid subject matter of watching men kill men under the umbrella of 'war', films such as this keep our eyes focused on the pity of war. Jason Hall adapted the book of the true events as recorded in their book by Chris Kyle, Scott McEwen and James DeFelice and form all the facts molded a story that gives us a distilled version of the four tours of duty in Iraq as a navy Seal Sniper that 'won' Chris Kyle 160 kills and in doing so allowed us to witness the moral and mental deterioration of a man's soul. This film SHOULD be seen.

Chris Kyle was a Texan who wanted to become a rodeo cowboy, but in his thirties he found out that maybe his life needed something different, something where he could express his real talent, something that could help America in its fight against terrorism. Post 9/11 happened, so he joined the SEALs in order to become a sniper. After marrying Taya, Kyle and the other members of the team are called for their first tour of Iraq. Kyle's struggle isn't with his missions, but about his relationship with the reality of the war and, once returned at home, how he manages to handle it with his urban life, his wife and kids. It does not end well for anyone.

Clint Eastwood's direction is razor sharp and he doesn't miss a step. Bradley Cooper brings an astonishingly fine performance in allowing us to see all aspects of this driven man. Sienna Miller is excellent as his sensitive wife, and there are poignant little character vignettes by Jake McDorman as Biggles, Luke Grimes, Sammy Sheik as the Iraqi counterpart to Chris, Navid Negahan, Jonathan Groff, Cory Hardrict, Keir O'Donnell and many other in this huge cast. The cinematography is so realistic it is difficult to watch and the locations in Morocco are disturbing real. The film will keep you awake after seeing it, and it should.
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6/10
Good movie but too fake
alexsnower1 July 2021
Just look up the real Chris Kyle and his claims surrounding hurricane Katrina and the super dome . Than you might not see him as such a hero. An entertaining movie but a huge lie. Not to mention his ideology that all Iraqis were savages and his killings during this illegal invasion were all justified, even the ones on unarmed civilians.
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7/10
Bradley Cooper is Right On Target as Chris Kyle, American Hero
Matt-144-79200910 December 2014
In American Sniper Bradley Cooper plays Chris Kyle, a real life Navy SEAL sharp shooter. The story is based on the Autobiography by Chris Kyle and chronicles his life and legend where he is reported to have over 150 confirmed kills in his career as a SEAL. The movie, directed by a legend in his own right Clint Eastwood, opens in the midst of battle where Kyle is about to make his very first confirmed kill. From there the movie jumps around with a series of flash backs to get you up to speed on the background of Kyle from childhood to how he ended up as a America's most deadly sniper. After the flashbacks, the movie takes you from one gruesome battle situation to another highlighting some of the more noteworthy kills of his career; all while trying to hold down a family, marriage and his own sanity.

Overall this is not Eastwood's best work. There is no real visual style here. I wanted this badly to be on the level of Lone Survivor (2013). Yet with the exception of Cooper and Sienna Miller who plays Kyle's wife, there are no other real marquee actors. The performances seem flat and the world created seem one dimensional. Think the level of acting seen in Act of Valor (2012). Yes, there are some real military in here similarly, yet the actual paid actors are nothing special. That being said I think Eastwood was a very good choice for directing in this film. In order to truly honor the life of Chris Kyle the direction of the picture can't be politically motivated. There are many directors in Hollywood who would have loaded it too message heavy. This film does exactly what it sets out to do and highlights the life of the man and his family. Out of respect for the family I feel a lot was left out about the end of his life. It's very hard to fight back tears at the end of this movie.

The real magic in this film is the performance given by Bradley Cooper. Cooper has been signed on to do this film since before Kyle's untimely death in 2012. Cooper briefly spoke with Kyle and met his family to get a feel for the role. Cooper is much smaller in comparison, so he put on nearly 40lbs to play the role. Along with the change in appearance his mannerisms and Texas accent are down to the proper detail. There are moments in the movie where you forget it's the A list actor Bradley Cooper. This is a career defining role that transcends the movie itself. With a dip of Copenhagen in his mouth, hat on backwards and Punisher emblem emblazoned on his armor, there is almost a superhero like quality to it all. And why not, here is a real life man who was the best at what he did, and he did it all for truth, justice and the American way. Like Batman or Superman Cooper's portrayal of Kyle is larger than life. I have no doubt the Academy will take notice of this performance.

If you liked this review, please check out my blog at yourturntopick.com
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9/10
Bradley Cooper Gives One Of The Best Performances Of His Career.
lwood2817 January 2015
American sniper is probably one of the best war films I've seen since Saving Private Ryan. Now I would probably won't consider this a war film because it mostly focuses on one character. One of the most recent war films that I really enjoyed last year was Lone Survivor. Now I thought that movie was really good but it was just handle very overly dramatic. I think this is probably one of the best performances Bradley Cooper has given in his career. I also think this is Clint Eastwood's best movie he has directed since Gran Torino. The action scenes were handled very well and it felt real. One problem I had with the film were the supporting characters. Now the acting for them were good but it's just you never get to know most of them their just there for the main character. The story is mostly just learning about one character. There really isn't that much to say about this film but if your a fan of war films then I would highly recommend checking this film out.
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6/10
Combat Film or Domestic Drama? Please Pick One, Mr. Eastwood
evanston_dad1 February 2015
People are seeing what they want to see in "American Sniper" without paying a lot of attention to what Clint Eastwood is actually saying.

There's been a liberal firestorm leveled at the film for its pro- military, pro-killer attitudes, to which I say: Have these people actually seen the movie?

I identify as liberal myself and have aimed more than my fair share of criticism at our military and the things it's used for. But anyone who thinks "American Sniper's" final message is pro-military is unfairly biased and isn't watching the film with an open mind. In Bradley Cooper's character, the film portrays the kinds of guys I think the military is probably full of -- guys who join up for noble ideals, are genuinely proud of America and their role in protecting it, think that's what they'll get a chance to do once they're in the military, and then are asked to do things that they can't mentally and emotionally handle. The film doesn't make a villain out of Cooper for being such a good and deadly sniper, which people seem to take exception to, thinking wrongly that if the film doesn't turn him into a villain, then it must intend him to be a hero. But I think the movie just feels bad for Cooper more than anything. He's just a decent guy who has a job and does it well, but the job he's asked to do is horrifying and something the average American can't even comprehend.

As for the movie itself, I didn't like it very much, but not for the reasons everyone else seems to have for disliking it. I felt that Eastwood wasn't sure whether he wanted to make a domestic drama or a straight-up combat film. Combat mostly wins out, with the domestic part, which should have been most interesting, feeling like a somewhat obligatory add-on, full of clichés and standard melodrama. Sienna Miller, as Cooper's wife, is a fine actress, but she's stuck with a thankless and boring role. Cooper is very good, but the movie's emphasis on combat over character development limits how effective he, or anyone else given the same role, could be.

Mostly, I came out of "American Sniper" thinking: "That was no 'Hurt Locker'."

Grade: B
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5/10
A great movie, but truthfulness? No
OzMovieWatcher18 July 2020
Both historically and in reality, this movie is a profound embellishment of the truth. I won't go into the real domestic situation of the sniper and his wife, you can google it and see that this movie is nothing but a fabrication. This was guy was not the wonderful kind family man as portrayed in the movie.

This movie is great entertainment as far as war movies go... but if you want accuracy ..... move on.
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clint hits the target with American sniper...
imizrahi200211 January 2015
it was extremely 'even'. nothing seemed overplayed. well balanced storytelling. as someone else wrote, best war movie i've seen in years...and while we're at it, best clint movie in a few outings, as well... i agree that the ending is a bit sudden. but there was no reason to drag it out, either... i don't feel it lingered on any one dynamic of what would be expected from a film like this...not TOO much violence or proselytizing/flag waving or lingering on casualty horrors... it doesn't, on the other hand, turn away from any of the ugliness, either... i thought bradley cooper did a great job in the role. the changes he gradually instilled into the character were subtle but present. it's as well done a war movie as i'll ever need.
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7/10
A Compulsion to Serve
ferguson-616 January 2015
Greetings again from the darkness. "Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown". Shakespeare wrote those words for Henry IV, but director Clint Eastwood's latest film depicts the sentiment for Chris Kyle, the Navy SEAL sharpshooter known as "Legend". Screenwriter Jason Hall adapted the story from Kyle's memoir (co-written with Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice).

You may not be aware of the sniper's role during a war. In an early scene (used in the trailer) we experience the incredibly stressful moment of decision that Chris Kyle (played by Bradley Cooper) faces as a mother and young child enter the street … are they a threat to the platoon or not? The decision means killing a woman and child or risking the death of many U.S. soldiers. If he is wrong, he faces a jury and military shame. Most of us lack the capacity for such decision-making. As a flashback to Kyle's childhood shows, most of us are either sheep or wolves. Only a very few are sheepdogs with the aggressiveness to protect the flock. Chris Kyle: sheepdog.

The story takes us through Chris' aimless young adult years on the cowboy circuit. He's a tough guy who likes to drink and party with his friends. September 11 acts as a call to action, a call to service. SEAL training is shown and the point is made that Chris is the old man in the group, but he displays a quiet leadership trait. We then witness his flirting with a snippy Taya (Sienna Miller) at a bar counter as his SEAL buddies throw darts at each other's bare backs (don't try that at home, kids). Soon enough Chris and Taya are married, and Chris is called to the front.

Back and forth we go through Chris Kyle's four tours. His expertise in war is offset by his inability to adjust to family life. He has a compulsion to serve and to protect his fellow soldiers, but he is unable to fit into the suburban life of cell phones and grilled hamburgers. Not surprisingly, Taya struggles with his struggles. Bradley Cooper gets to be the legend, while Sienna Miller is the emotional mother who has seemingly lost her husband – not to death, but to an obsession to serve.

The film does little to explain why Chris Kyle is exponentially more productive than other snipers, and even less to explore his PTSD and mental anguish outside of the front. It's Bradley Cooper's acting that provides us what insight we do get, and he does a remarkable job capturing the hulking, uncommunicative giant who doesn't really understand the "legend" title … he's just doing his job and following his nature.

The tragic end is handled with grace by Eastwood, and it left my full-capacity movie theatre as quiet as a church during prayer. It's possible to be a legend, but not a hero, and the movie makes no political statements regarding war or foreign policy. What it does show is that most of us are not sheepdogs.
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8/10
Gritty and Gripping
victuki10 January 2015
Chris Kyle was the most lethal sniper in the U.S. military history. He apparently killed more than 250 Iraqui insurgents, though the Pentagon only credited him around 160, which nevertheless made him a legend of the U.S. Army. I started to read the book last year but stopped doing it since I first heard about the project. Eastwood and Cooper on board, that is promising. And of course they both deliver, and "American Sniper" is dense and blunt, quite like a shot.

Cooper plays Chris Kyle, the ultimate "American": religious, patriot and uncompromising in his convictions. He is a noble and honest man regarding every aspect of his life, and that is something to respect. Cooper already played a soldier in "The A-Team" remake (Joe Carnahan, 2010), and it seems that he showed great abilities in the military stunts, and showed interest in the work of the army. He bulked up 20 kg and went through a really tough training, including Navy SEAL sniper sessions. Sienna Miller plays his wife Taya, who suffered the effects of war on his husband, despite his strong belief and determination. Her unconditional love was a massive support for Kyle.

Eastwood has made an intense and heartfelt film, one of his trademarks, absent shows and unnecessary politics or philosophy. This is obviously the classic "American" patriotic film, but it differs from others in the approach of the man, who is an instrument to a purpose, yet a human being totally aware of what he does.

Bottom line, this film is almost perfect in many aspects, and the only thing that does not hook me is how much it reminds me to "The Hurt Locker" (Kathryn Bigelow, 2008). That was way more focused on the adrenaline addiction the main character had, but the behavior of both characters after tours seemed to me pretty alike.
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7/10
Review - American Sniper
thenolanfan22 February 2020
Overall, a great movies, it takes a lot of time to explain not only the war but the relationship between the members of the same family and the friendship that are related during wars.

In this movie, Eastwood wanted us to feel like every soldier as and identity, this why he didn't only filmed only war sequences, there is a lot of people who died or are injured in this movie, it shows that those who dead should be remembered, they weren't only soldiers, sometimes they were husband or fathers.

For the family, it is always a tragic moment to lose someone no matter the danger that they have gone through during war.

Often now, Eastwood makes movie about real heroes who weren't recognized for their services soon enough. I think that it is a noble idea overall.

The only place where this movie is losing points, is that I feel that a certain part of the movie was more concentrated on killing a particular sniper of the enemy, The movie goes a little bit far by making a useless emphases on that aspect of the story.

I recommend this movie, it shows us that Clint Eastwood still make good movies, this one was even nominated for an Oscar.
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8/10
Bradley Cooper bulked up his shoulders and took on a very difficult role that etches him on the list of "Great Actors" as he plays the real life character of Chris Kyle.
jaclyn-144-75958310 December 2014
(I hope I can get through this review without tearing up)

Viewing this movie in the theatre is different than usual. While you walk in and grab your seat, you may feel that everyone around you is anticipating the same thing ... a powerful story about a powerful man with a powerful purpose. That's a lot for a movie to live up to.

I believe you will walk out of the theatre with many thoughts after watching American Sniper ... and one of those thoughts will be that Bradley Cooper gave unwavering respect to Chris Kyle, his family, his fellow SEALS, his country and the movie industry. He bulked up his shoulders and took on a very difficult role that etches him on the list of "Great Actors" as he plays the real life character of Chris Kyle. Simply put - he was believable. His look. His accent. His Texas strut. His dip. His eyes. Watching the film you can clearly see what I assume to be parallel of what Kyle experienced on the battlefields abroad and at home. I can only hope the Kyle family and friends feel the same, as Cooper's acting appears to be a beautiful tribute to a "Legend".

While Clint Eastwood didn't break any ground with direction, I do believe he was a perfect choice for this film and did an incredible job telling Kyle's story without putting politics on the screen. This is a rough story to watch no matter your political views ... war is hell on all sides. If Eastwood put politics in the film I believe the audience would have lost the purpose of the piece. This is a movie that liberals, conservatives, libertarians, and "I-don't-knowins" can appreciate.

The best movies make you walk out of the doors seeing the world a bit differently. American Sniper gives an eerie look into a world that we, as Americans, are so far away from. Many of us don't know death like this. We don't know what it's like to face the mental and physical challenges our troops face during war. We've never been in the middle of a sand- storm fire fight. Eastwood, his crew and cast provide us with a small glimpse into what our troops face overseas and stateside. After seeing the movie inside an enormous mall, it was a bit surreal to walk out to an Urban Outfitters and Apple store full of Christmas shoppers. American Sniper will push you outside of everyday life to tell you a story that will stir your head and your heart.

Personally, American Sniper brought many emotions about the courageous servicemen, women and their families that have touched my life. Over the years I've had the honor to work with the American Veterans Center (AVC) in Arlington, VA, who host the National Memorial Day Parade and Wounded Warrior Experience among other great events. Some of the veterans who starred in American Sniper have also shared their story during AVC events. If this movie inspires you to learn more about these outstanding men and women, please check out AVC.

American Sniper also reminded me of the bravest people I know -- Lance Corporal Nicholas Erdy and his family. Much like you see on the screen, the Erdy's sacrifice and love for our country is the stuff superheroes are made of.

To the Kyle family, Erdys, all veterans, servicemen and women, and their families ... thank you for your sacrifice and courage. Your stories inspire us to strive for love and peace. To Eastwood, Cooper and the American Sniper team ... thank you for clearly putting your heart into this important American story. Bravo.

Bottom line - the Chris Kyle Story - American Sniper - is a must see.
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6/10
Clouded by Stars and Stripes
valleyjohn11 January 2015
I understand that Chris Kyle is a hero in the eyes of the American people and he did do an important job but this film goes way over the top . In fact i wouldn't have been surprised if this had started with the commonly seen cartoon Marvel introduction , it's that sycophantic and it's no coincidence that this directed by Clint Eastwood. Bradley Copper does a decent enough job , as does Sienna Miller and it does entertain if you can see through the stars and stripes. It's a shame that Eastwood didn't make this more of anti war movie because then this film could have worked but sadly this is just a pro American film made for Americans.
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