American Sniper was the 2014 biopic directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Bradley Cooper in the lead role as US Sniper Chris Kyle. It was written by Jason Hall and based on a book of the same name written by Kyle.
The film recounts the tale of Kyle, the desist sniper in US military history, ranging from brief moments from his childhood, through to him enrolling into the US Navy Seals following the bombing of the US embassy’s in the late 90’s.
We follow Kyle through training and into the 4 tours of Iran that followed with him largely deployed as a sniper supporting marine ground forces. Alongside this, we see him meet his wife Taya (Sienna Miller), and as they have two children together.
As the film progresses, it operates with two main storylines, and weaves between the two. The first is the story of Kyle’s time in Iraq, the friendships that he build and the missions that he takes on. From the first sniper shots that he takes in live combat, through to his conflicts with an enemy sniper.
The second story, follows Kyle through his home life as he returns each time from combat. We see the impact of the combat activities on him, and the relationship with his family.
It’s through these two stories, and the differences between the two, where the quality of Cooper’s performance stands out. In combat operations, he shows Kyle as the confident, articulate leader and ‘legend’ within his group. As we see him at home we see him constantly on edge, over reacting and struggling to explain everything that he is wrestling with to his wife.
In the execution, Eastwood excels creating a film riddled with tension, but also a real grounding in an emotional tale that draws you in and doesn’t let go.
It’s a remarkable performance by Cooper and one that justifies that watch alone, the fact it is an incredible true story makes it even more worthwhile viewing.
That’s what I thought – what about you? Have you seen it? Comment below and share your thoughts…