When the first trailer for ‘American Sniper’ came out, I knew it was going to be a special movie because the trailer instantly created intensity and that made it look so good. Thank goodness the movie itself actually lived up to big promise the trailer made.
We get to take a look at the life of the “most lethal sniper in U.S. history”, Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper). While on his four tours of duty, Kyle shows while he was nicknamed the “Legend” but when he goes back home, we see how his time serving in the war has effected him and his family.
Yeah, I Liked That
For starters, I loved that the movie started with the scene in the trailer that shows Kyle having to make a quick decision on if he’s going to have to shoot a child that may or may not be caring a grenade. That instantly instilled the intensity that would be felt throughout the movie. The scene leaves off on a cliff-hanger to go back and establish Kyle’s character from the beginning but the movie doesn’t take the easy way out and comes back to the scene later in the movie (you’ll know what I’m talking about when you see it).
The entertainment nature of the movie was there in full force. During the first act, humor is relied on since the movie hasn’t gotten to the action or any of the character heavy moments. During Kyle’s Navy SEAL training, I found myself giggling at the playful followed by smart remark banter between the trainers and the trainees and also at the fact that there is no way I would of put myself through all that torture. Hope that doesn’t make me seem all anti-American and whatnot.I also found the action/violence to be very entertaining. One of my favorite moments was the sand storm shoot out. It reminded me of a video game where all these “bad guys” are coming from all different directions but you still have to shoot your way out of the building and make it to safety.
While watching ‘American Sniper’ I started to notice that the movie wasn’t playing out like a typical war movie or a typical biopic. One of the big reasons I felt that way was because the movie kind of had a villain. There was an opposing sniper named Mustafa (Sammy Sheik) who was always around (it seemed) and did to U.S. troops what Kyle was doing to the opposition. That’s why I categorize the movie as a superhero/war type of flick. I actually liked that the movie played out the way it did because it was sort of a surprise to me but it still worked. I was expecting the war in general to be sort of like a villain and you can kind of say it was but we also got a physical one as well. Yes the movie had plenty elements that made it a war movie and a biopic (since that’s what it was trying to be) but having the villain element (and the ups and downs that usually occur with a villain in a narrative) made the movie play out more like just a regular story (if that makes any sense). Once again, that’s not a bad thing.
Lastly, how Kyles mental state was handled was done correctly in my opinion. When he was at home between tours, you could notice that the war was taking its toll on him but it was subtle. He wasn’t shown doing any over the top actions to really make sure the viewer knew what he was going through, there were just subtle clues. Towards the end they became less subtle (ex. a scene between Kyle and a dog) but the build up to that point was nice and smooth. Cooper’s performance also made those subtle clues look like blatant obvious ones. Over the last few years, he’s really been showing his range as actor and that he should be looked at as one of the best doing it right now. While out on his tours, I liked how a touchy subject like the murder of children was dealt with when it came to how it affected Kyle. It wouldn’t be believable if the movie just showed Kyle run into those situations but not show any emotions especially when **SPOILER ALERT** his first kill was a child.
Yeah, I Didn’t Like That
My main gripes with movie mainly come at the end. After his last duty, how he found his outlet to cope with all he’s been through seemed rushed. It’s like he comes back, has a bad incident, then goes to talk to someone about it and then instantly figures out how he’s going to handle the withdraw of not fighting wars anymore. If the people behind the movie didn’t want to make the run time any longer, then they could of edited down some of the scenes of him on his tours because I think a stronger ending would of hit home with how much of an adjustment life back home was for Kyle.
Also, the ending scene seemed to force how a good day could end badly by having these nice little moments with his wife and each of his two kids and then showing the man, who would end up as his killer, as a sketchy looking individual. If that’s how it actually happened in real life then fine but it’s like Clint Eastwood and everyone else behind the movie wanted to show how good of a person he was, once again, before they moved on to his death. It just came off as they were trying too hard. But seriously though, his killer couldn’t have looked that creepy. He looked like he was up to something. If he looked like that in real life then there is no way I’m getting in a car with him, let alone taking him to a shooting range.
‘American Sniper’ didn’t seem like a true biopic but more of superhero/war movie. That isn’t a bad thing though, for me, because that is what made me like it so much. I mean I am a fan of superheros. But anyways, congrats to this movie that lived up to its trailer. Oh and I hope I didn’t spoil to much of the movie. If so then my apologies.
RATING: Must Own
P.S. Once again here is my rating scale. There are four different levels. Below is each level in order from best to worse and what each one means.
Must Own = A movie that is so good that I must add it to my Blu-ray collection when it comes out.
Would Accept as a Gift = I enjoyed the movie but don’t necessarily have to buy it (especially if I don’t have the funds to) myself but I would take it if someone bought it for me.
Might Rent = A movie that if I have the urge to watch again then I’ll just rent it from somewhere or Netflix it.
Never See Again = Very simple. I don’t want to ever see this movie again.
(Photo Credit: Lindsey Bahr – http://insidemovies.ew.com/2014/10/02/american-sniper-trailer/; Warner Bros. Pictures; http://i2.cdn.turner.com/money/dam/assets/150121134028-bradley-cooper-in-american-sniper-620×348.png)