Posted January 13, 2015 by editor in Film Reviews

American Sniper Review


Clint Eastwood gets his directorial grove back with this true life tale of an American patriot (Bradley Copper) fighting the war abroad, and having to come to terms with himself back home between tours with his wife (Sienna Miller) and their growing family.

It seems American cinema is not yet done with the Iraq war – and this time we get the biographical telling of real life Sniper Chris Kyle (Cooper). His love for America is made clear right from the get go as we see the young man “cowboying” his way around the country with his meeker and younger brother. From the tip of the film we learn the harsh discipline their father set upon them and see the effects of that on Kyle’s life as an adult – serving with the seal teams abroad while his new wife (Miller) sits in wait at home – only to be returned an ever more reclusive husband and then soon to be father.

Cooper is on solid form once again – providing audiences with more than they ever need to get under the skin of this character – and often with only a set of looks, postures and breathing skills to get us there. Kyle is a fascinating figure – flawed to the bone, but not without his humanity

The fight abroad is somewhat portrayed in a way that gives our heroes an antagonist to search for over the course of his tours which may or may not work for the effect of giving the audience some added tension. But it is in the scenes themselves leading up to and into any action we see that work best. The fact that it could well be as random as anything we encounter is what makes it all the more tense. Giving names and faces to the opposition only serve us for the sake of adding a significant other for him to hunt.

American Sniper does cut a very fine line between character moments and the on the job tension. Cooper proves well cast for the role and Eastwood’s work is definitely a step up from his more recent admirable, but ultimately forgettable, ventures as a director.

American Sniper is strong film that keeps you on your toes from start to end – regardless of how you feel about patriotism. It’s not an idea that is forced down audiences throats – instead it works more as a personal essay of one man and what armed conflict has done to him as a result. Strongly recommended.

4 Stars



Steven Hurst