Recently I have heard a lot of hype about the movie American Sniper. Usually I am not a big fan of war movies however, given the public interest the movie has generated it peaked my curiosity and so I decided to go watch it. With an accomplished director, a capable cast, and great effects, Hollywood has proven they can still make a worthwhile film. Please continue for more details and my thoughts on the film.
American Sniper – Story and Actors
The movie, which is distributed by Warner Bros and directed by Clint Eastwood (Gran Torino, Million Dollar Baby), was released in the US on December 25, 2014 with a very limited release and later followed with a wide release on January 16, 2015. It tells the story and life events of a now fallen US Navy SEAL, Chris Kyle, played by Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook, Hangover). For the most part, it showcases the highs and lows of a soldier/sniper and the effects his job had taken on his personal/married life to his wife, Taya, played by Sienna Miller (Stardust, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra). Most of the movie takes place in the years just after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center Towers during some 4 tours in Iraq. American Sniper goes through an abundance of high-intensity moments that leave you on the edge of your seat and holding your breath. With some 160 confirmed kills, Kyle holds the title as the US military’s most lethal sniper ever. Kyle manages the rigors, choices, and consequences of being a military sniper while living up to his nickname as “The Legend”, given to him by his peers. Sniper or not, I have no doubt those kills came with a lot of pressure and stress, which the movie displays well, in my opinion, as we see Kyle eventually suffer moments of PTSD. To his credit, my” hats off” to Bradley Cooper for his portrayal of Kyle in the film. I believe I read he gained some 40 lbs. for the part, which is a very commendable body-morphology for any actor in any movie. Aside from Cooper’s amazing physical transformation to play Kyle, I thought he did a great job portraying an America-lovin’ cowboy/soldier from the south (Texas). His vernacular, etiquette, and mannerisms seemed pretty spot on for the role. From what I understand, he is up for a few Oscar nominations for this and I would agree that it is rightfully so.
American Sniper – By The Numbers
While opinions of the film vary (like all films), there is not discounting that the films domestic box office stats/numbers are impressive. It currently holds these and other rankings:
- Highest Ever Opening Weekend in January – #1
- Highest Ever Opening Weekend during Winter – #1
- 2nd Highest Ever Opening Weekend for a rated “R” film (behind Matrix Reloaded)
If the “numbers” are relative to your decision to see the film, you’d be happy to hear that BoxOfficeMojo.com reports the film managed a $89 million opening weekend and has amassed an impressive $227 million domestically to date (worldwide total is almost $275 million). All this on a budget just under $60 million.
American Sniper – Wrap Up
For my interest, I was never bored during the film and felt it was emotionally gripping from the start. This is very important for me, especially since the film runs at 2 hrs and 12 minutes and I am typically not a big fan of war movies (I like sci-fi/superhero movies the most). While the movie has received mostly positive reviews, it has also gotten a couple mixed and/or bad reviews. I understand opinions vary and that’s expected and appreciated. As they say, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. However my American Sniper movie review will reflect a movie that was far better than I expected, considering the other reviews I read which compared it to The Hurt Locker, a movie I personally did not enjoy as much. In short (or long), I really enjoyed American Sniper. The story, direction, dialogue, and acting made it an entertaining movie from beginning to end. Definitely the most I have enjoyed a war movie since Black Hawk Down or Saving Private Ryan. After seeing this in the theater, I know my Blu-ray collection will not be complete without it. Chalk one up for Clint Eastwood and Bradley Cooper. Two thumbs way up.
American Sniper – My Rating
My rating is 9.5 out of 10. Check back for more upcoming movie reviews. Thanks for reading, JDM.
By John D. Moore