Movie Review: ‘American Sniper’

A slew of war related movies have hit theaters in the past few months.

October moviegoers were given “Fury,” a World War II movie about a tank crew and the grim reality of war. The moving story of a former Olympian-turned-Air Force Pilot and prison camp victim was portrayed in “Unbroken,” which was released on Christmas day. And this month, “American Sniper,” the highly anticipated movie based on the autobiography of the same title about Chris Kyle, was released.

The intense trailers for the movie promised a gripping viewing experience, and the movie definitely delivers.

The start of the movie puts you right in the middle of the action. The first five minutes of the movie sets up the rest of the film. From that point, the film takes viewers back to Chris’ Texas-rooted childhood and upbringing, and it shows the audience that Chris had been good with a firearm in his hands.

We see Chris grow up from an aimless cowboy that rode in bronco rodeos on weekends to an inspired young man that signs up to become a U.S. Navy SEAL. The movie does justice to the training process of a SEAL while not dwelling on one aspect for too long.

After graduating SEAL training, Chris meets his future wife, Taya, while celebrating graduation with his friends. The movie does a good job of establishing the relationship between the two in a believable fashion, portraying Chris and Taya as authentic people who truly love each other. At their wedding, Chris receives word that he will be leaving for his first tour in Iraq shortly.

From this point, the scenes are focused primarily in the Middle East. We see a good deal of Chris taking out terrorist threats, especially from the rooftops of Iraq, in his position as a sniper. However, there are a number of scenes where the viewer gets to see Chris get up close to the enemy.

For example, we see Chris performing a raid in the house of a person with suspected intelligence on a high priority target. A similar scene follows in the movie, during which the characters find an imminent threat to the SEAL team’s safety. Though the close-up scenes are interesting, so, too, are the scenes where Chris holds his position as a sniper.

In fact, the movie does an excellent job of showing the emotional toll on Chris of killing the number of people he did. When the film follows Chris back to the states, his experiences overseas and how they have affected him is done well without going over the top.

Not only is Chris’ emotional dilemma on display, but that of his wife is as well. The movie focuses a sufficient amount on her and how she deals with a husband that is overseas without distracting from the main point.

This movie is stellar in regards to the actors and their depiction of the characters.

Bradley Cooper does such a good job portraying Chris Kyle that one can easily forget that the man on the screen is an actor and not Chris himself. Sienna Miller, staring as Taya Kyle, also does a great job of showing emotions that can be difficult to express onscreen, such as grief and panic.

For those who choose to watch “American Sniper,” expect to feel emotionally drained by the time credits roll. The filmmakers don’t skimp on the heaviness of Chris Kyle’s story. You may feel as if you’ve been hit by an emotional freight train and, quite possibly, sit in silence for most of the credits.

Fans of cinematography, war movies, quality acting and action will love this film adaption of a true patriot.

Conner Ghiz is a sophomore professional writing and information design major and arts and entertainment writer for Cedars. He loves listening to music and going to Roosters Wings.

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