If you want a film about a guy who you can relate to, this film might not be for you. American Sniper prides itself on finding complexities from such a simple person. It proves that even the most unvarnished soul can have the most intricate internal conflicts.
And if you’re looking for a film that’s going to be inspirational and moving, this film is not for you. This isn’t Saving Private Ryan. It’s going to leave you slightly speechless and feeling funny. It’s a film that is built to teach you about a life that has lived–a complicated life to say the very least. It’s a peek inside the life of the most lethal sniper in U.S. history and how he grew as a person throughout his life, and how the military changed him.
Bradley Cooper is fantastic as U.S. Navy Seal, Chris Kyle. He gets the character and commits fully, which serves the purpose of this film tremendously.
What we have is a movie that doesn’t waste time with very many subplots. Instead, it uses the few elements that it has and intertwines all of them so that it becomes one big tangible object. The character arc is so dynamic that you almost become Chris. You feel his conflicts and you don’t blame him for being detached and aloof. You’ve seen what he’s seen. The thing with war films is that they’re hardly ever predictable. You might know what’s going to happen, but you never know how. So this helps you move along the journey with Chris even better. Except finally, when Chris is at home, yet feels like he has to go back to the war, you realize that after all you had been through you would never want to go back there. You realize where you and Chris differ. And at that point you slip back into reality for a moment and remember that it’s just a movie. But this clarity is necessary in order for you to further understand his character. How messed up must he have been in order to feel the need to go back? He’s hearing his dad’s wolf speech in his head still. American Sniper does the best thing possible to make you understand a character. It makes you the character and then pulls you away in order to see the contrast. It’s brilliant!
When I grade a film I look at the intentions of the director. And it’s a joy to see the exact film that the filmmakers wanted to make. It came out entirely how they wanted it. You can’t knock it for that.