Bradley Cooper stars as Chris Kyle, a U.S. Navy Seal in American Sniper, a true story directed by Clint Eastwood. Kyle has hopes of living the only “American Dream” that matters to him: protecting his country. Having been raised in a staunch household based on defending those who mean the most by any means necessary, Kyle defends his family, especially his younger brother, by fighting on behalf of his country. He shuns living a life of ignorance towards what’s happening in war-torn countries and in doing so becomes addicted to fighting a fight that’s not his. In joining the war, he leaves behind his wife (Sienna Miller) and his children.
The film focuses on realism and the inner psyche of the soldier that people rarely see. What shocked me is how Kyle is one person in the war and a completely different person at home. But even when he’s at home, his head is still in the war. Eastwood’s directing executes this story sharply, showing the deterioration and brainwashing of Kyle after he returns home.
When we hear stories of soldiers, we hear that war is a gruelling experience, but sometimes imagine that all is well once the fighters return home. What American Sniper does exceptionally well is put the audience behind the closed doors of a family that was built on the shaky grounds of preparing its children to enter the military. Audiences feel the tension between Kyle and his wife and get a glimpse of what life in the military is like, either through the character’s eyes or through the scope of a sniper, which truly captures the realism of the film. Not only do you see and hear the bullet leaving the gun, but you also see the anxiety in the sniper’s face, as well as the collapsing body of a terrorist after being gunned down by, as TIME Magazine calls him, “the most deadly sniper in American history”.
Cooper and Miller bring a unique relationship to the screen, evoking the nerves out of the audience and emotion from their own acting arsenal. Cooper and the film are nominated for Best Actor and Best Motion Picture, and more accolades are surely coming their way.