American Sniper is a red, white and blue story of a Texas cowboy who serves four tours of duty in Iraq. He is real life Navy Seal Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper), a man with a deadly aim.
Kyle’s story, unlike those told in Lone Survivor, Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker includes significant amounts of time spent stateside between tours and after his final tour. Wife Taya (Sienna Miller) is supportive and understanding of the fact that he can’t dial things back when he’s at home. Kyle loves his family but keeps feeling the need to go back for more action.
And what action it is! Director Clint Eastwood brings a taste of what combat must be like in the Mideast, where you never know if a civilian has a bomb strapped to his or her body. The engagements Kyle and his crew have with the enemy reveal the peril that troops must constantly be aware of. (Some of the combat scenes were filmed in Morocco.)
Cooper’s not the guy I might’ve cast in this role, but he is excellent here. (Although his Texas accent tends to come and go.) He manages to bring both the hard edge of the warrior and a softer side as a husband and father. Cooper does have good range.
American Sniper enjoyed excellent buzz last year but failed to win significant love from year-end critics awards. Lately, though, buzz has trended up again and the film received 6 Oscar nominations including Best Film and Best Actor.
The Chris Kyle story has a sad ending. But Americans looking for a hero will find one in American Sniper.