By Nico Beland
Movie Review: A (3 ½ stars)
WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Clint Eastwood (Dirty Harry, Million Dollar Baby, Gran Torino) makes a satisfying return as a director and after a few years he finally directed another good movie; it was perfect timing, especially after the poorly received Hereafter, J. Edgar, Trouble with the Curve, and Jersey Boys. Honestly, I thought most of these films were okay, but for a while the last movie Clint directed that I loved all the way through was 2009’s Gran Torino, that is until this new movie came out, American Sniper, based on a true war story.
This is Clint Eastwood’s third film he directed in the war category, the first two being Flags of our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima, both of which were produced by Steven Spielberg. This time there’s no Spielberg on board for American Sniper, but I don’t think he really needs him for this movie, American Sniper is gritty and intense, but also has a powerful story, and strong performances by its leads.
Bradley Cooper (The Hangover trilogy, American Hustle, Guardians of the Galaxy) stars as U.S. military sniper, Chris Kyle, the most lethal sniper in the U.S. who is sent to Iraq for one mission, to protect his brothers-in-arms. He has pinpoint accuracy when wielding his rifle and saved many lives in the battlefield, unfortunately his reputation is growing behind enemy lines and making him a target for insurgents.
So Chris must fight with his soldier brothers in Iraq with no man left behind, and return home to his wife (Sienna Miller-Foxcatcher, Stardust, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra) and children.
Overall, American Sniper is a thrilling war epic, with grisly war violence, strong character development, and a thoroughly powerful story. Unfortunately the film does throw in some nasty child cruelty, which can turn people off from watching the movie, but with that said, the scene isn’t very long, but it is very cruel and dark and if you can manage to get past it, you’ll get a great war story brought to the screen.
It’s very refreshing to see Bradley Cooper take on a serious role, especially after his roles in the past in films like The Hangover, Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle, and Guardians of the Galaxy. He manages to throw in a few witty lines but overall he’s not a comic relief in this movie, he’s takes his job very seriously and his emotion deliveries are very strong, especially when you’re spending your days trapped in a war zone, it’s also great to see Sienna Miller starring in a good movie, despite the fact she was casted in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, hopefully she’ll remain having a strong acting career because she portrays Chris’ wife very well.
I wouldn’t consider this one of the best war epics like Saving Private Ryan and the Universal classic war movies, but as far as Eastwood directed films go; this is one of his best films as a director in a long time. It’s gripping, it’s intense, it’s compelling…its American Sniper.
I hope Clint Eastwood stars and directs more movies that critics and audiences enjoy, because after Gran Torino, he hit Rock Bottom with Hereafter, J. Edgar, Trouble with the Curve, and Jersey Boys, I’d love to see what’s next in store for Clint Eastwood, whether it’s good or bad, I’ll be there to check it out.