The biographical war drama American Sniper, starring Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller, was sure to be hit. Not just because it came from Clint Eastwood’s crafted hand, but because it told the true story of Chris Kyle; a sniper credited with the most kills in US military history.
By: Vanessa Koltholf
The film plucks Kyle out of his ordinary life set in Texas and transfers him into training for becoming a Navy SEAL after watching a broadcast on television covering the recent terrorist attacks. After completing his training, he meets a woman named, Taya, and the two are married just before the attacks of 9/11.
Kyle is then deployed to Iraq as a sniper, and the movie continues to lace the audience throughout his various tours over the next few years, including his visits at home to see Taya, and their two kids. Among his fellow SEALS, he is dubbed as “The Legend,” due to his high count in kills while in action.
At home, however, Taya has troubles accepting him being away from her and their kids, whether she is voicing her concerns out to him over the phone, or have to deal with it alone. The compelling emotion from Kyle as he personally deals with the consideration of what is right and wrong, and what his duties really are in life give the audience a slight glimpse into the mind of a military man.
Cooper is once again commendable in his role, this time proving himself more than capable to delve through the similar characteristics all veterans of war have (or that are shown in films like such), shedding light on the darkness within all soldiers after their time on tour. The darkness that is, a cracked perspective and certain intolerance to everyday activity, like loud noises, and aggressive behavior.
In addition to interpreting the more unfortunate aspects as side effects of acting as a sniper, Cooper is also committed and earnest in portraying Kyle with the exact generous nobility, heroics, and courage the real life Chris Kyle once had.As said earlier, the film was sure to be a hit, giving the film a collection of Academy Award nominations, including Best Actor for Cooper’s interpretation of Kyle, and Best Picture.
Despite the fact that the film wasn’t perfect by any means, there is yet a little bit of difficulty in picking apart the film’s weakest aspects, keeping in mind that it was based on a true story, and ought to have been kept that way. Though, it should be said that the flavourful tension that existed in the film’s first trailer, in which Kyle is determining whether or not he should shoot a child with a possible grenade in their possession, was unfortunately discontinued during the rest of the duration of the story.
The adaptation of Kyle’s personal trauma worn in by his tours was subdued almost to silence, resulting in no real confrontations between him and his wife, for instance, while she questioned his absence and its effects on their relationship. Definitely unlike Tobey Maguire’s character in Brothers in that aspect, a film that shares many common bonds with Sniper.
The main focus of the film was spent on the development of Kyle, and whether or not this was intentional, the other characters did suffer from their own lack in development. Audiences then failed to see for instance, why Kyle was so in love with his wife, or why he was as close to his fellow SEALS as he was.
The dialogue between these characters felt weak and should have been done so in a way that brought more insight to the personalities of the people Kyle was around. This may have helped tell the story a little better, and would have given more tension to each scene so that audiences could have felt the overall severity of what was happening.
While the film did indeed tell the story of Kyle in his days as, “The Legend,” it built only those few moments of major suspense, causing the film to fall through the cracks of it’s potential, though it is not enough for the film itself to be written off. In the end, Eastwood did bring a fine product, making American Sniper one of the better few war biopics to date. Altogether, it holds itself as the candidate at the Academy Awards that it is, doing justice to the American hero, Chris Kyle, himself.