MOVIE REVIEW: AMERICAN SNIPER / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: CLINT EASTWOOD / SCREENPLAY: JASON DEAN HALL / STARRING: BRADLEY COOPER, SIENNA MILLER, LUKE GRIMES, KYLE GALLNER / RELEASE DATE: JANUARY 16TH
Based on the novel by the late Navy SEAL Chris Kyle on his four tours of duty in Iraq, whose 160 confirmed kills earned him the nickname, ‘the Legend’. Eastwood, thanks to an adaptation by Hall, weaves a gripping tale of a man in a deadly situation and the weight of his moral psyche. At 84 years old, Eastwood does an outstanding job directing the story through Kyle’s eyes and the work of cinematographer, Tom Stern, draws the audience in.
The film has its share of evil bad guys; one known as the ‘Butcher’ and a Syrian-born sniper (Sammy Shiek) who’s almost as good as Kyle where they both play a deadly cat-and-mouse game rivaling Enemy At the Gates, and features an intense firefight in a sandstorm that keeps the action flowing.
It’s full of intense moments, such as the point in which a terrorist mother and son are ready to throw a grenade at an unsuspecting group of American soldiers with Kyle (Cooper) ready to take his shot. This contrasts with his down time back in Texas as a good ol’ boy who is painfully distant with his wife Taya (Miller) and their children as he becomes emotionally shocked each time he comes back from his tour of duty seeing how they’ve grown up without him. Eastwood brilliantly shows the dichotomy of what combat does to a man, in that when he’s home, he wants to be back and when he’s away, he thinks of home.
The film confirms to us that Kyle is a mere human being, but one with super-human mettle. We learn about Kyle as a young man, good with a rifle and protective of his younger brother; his brief stint as a rodeo cowboy to his enlistment joining the Navy SEALS as he goes through the final test of the grueling Hell Week. When soldiers and friends call Kyle a hero, he shrugs it off, though he does heroic things spending time with wounded war vets at home and in combat.
Expected Rating: 8 out of 10