Based on a true story, American Sniper is about Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle who’s pinpoint accuracy earns him the nickname ‘legend’ on the battlefield. With a wife and two young children at home, Chris struggles to leave the horrors of war behind him and be a husband and father.
There’s no doubt that American Sniper is a stunning biographical drama, yet despite rave reviews and a premise that’s Oscar-worthy by any standards, what could be hard-hitting and emotional is actually quite boring and long winded in parts. The ending, which has the potential to be heartrending just sort of fizzles out disappointingly. We are teased with the possibility of a sickly sweet happy ending before the inevitable, hard-hitting truth is revealed, but it’s in the dull fade-to-black-and-add-a-title reveal where the films conclusion turns into a bit of a damp squib.
What American Sniper does well however is show us the harsh realities of war, forcing us to get so involved in the plot that it’s almost uncomfortable to watch. Seeing children in a snipers’ cross-hairs isn’t easy for anyone to watch. Bradley Cooper’s performance, which has been praised (and rightly so) as his best performance of his career to date, is so on point that these hard to watch scenes are even harder. The audience is not only forced to see women and children in Chris’ cross-hairs but we are also forced into the emotional roller coaster that he’s experiencing while he does his job.
The obligatory love story going on behind the war scenes adds a bit of depth to the story but doesn’t feel as substantial as it could. The film is very episodic and as a result we speed through all the stages of Chris’ life, including getting married and fathering two children, without really feeling it. As someone who’s far more interested in the drama aspect than the action scenes, Chris’ relationship with his wife (Sienna Miller) and children doesn’t fully come across and it’s difficult to really relate.
American Sniper isn’t really doing anything that we haven’t seen before. There are countless films that show the harsh realities of war, so it’s nothing particularly new. However the strength of the performances carries it, particularly that of Bradley Cooper. It’s a film that I’m sure people who enjoy war films will love, but for me it was just too long winded and boring, and while I can appreciate it as a brilliant film, it’s not something I’d want to watch again.
An alternative opinion…
My other half expressed an interest in watching this film a little while ago, for some reason, because ‘the trailer looked awesome’ (his words, not mine) and so tonight when we were struggling to pick a film we settled for this; me somewhat begrudgingly. Needless to say his opinion is very different to mine so I thought I’d add a little sidenote and let you know what my movie-watching companion thought.
Me: Sum it up in a sentence
Me: That’s not a sentence
Wayne: Well I dunno. I thought it was really good. It tells a proper story, shows what it’s really like for soldiers.
So there we are folks! There’s two points of view for you, go forth and watch and as always please sound off in the comments below and let me know your thoughts.