American Sniper: Film Review


This film broke box office records in the U.S. but didn’t do as well in the U.K. and it is clear to see why – this film seriously pushes a pro-American agenda that might be hard for some people to stomach. It will certainly be divisive based on the public’s personal opinion of the War in Iraq. That aside, American Sniper is interesting and Bradley Cooper is incredible.

Cooper has packed on a ton of weight to play the meaty U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, who was declared the deadliest sniper in military history when he finished his fourth tour of Iraq in 2009. We watch Kyle fight through each tour and discover how the war affects him when he returns home to his wife (Sienna Miller) and kids.


Although the pro-War agenda is obvious, that wasn’t actually my main issue with the movie. It was far too long and it dragged. It was just over two hours but it felt like way more. Something was up with the pacing. I started to get fed up of the war zone action when he returns for yet ANOTHER tour. I’m glad Kyle wasn’t simply a sniper because that would have been so boring. At least he got involved in on-the-ground combat and got involved with an important mission. The story tried to encompass too much of Kyle’s life in the story but failed to keep the interest. Although each tour is different in terms of his assignment, I did begin to lose concentration.

Its strengths lie in the post-traumatic stress scenes. I found those absolutely fascinating and I would have loved more of those rather than war scenes. The emotion is so raw that I really felt something for Kyle and his family. In Iraq, he comes across as this invincible hero sniper – nicknamed “The Legend” – and nothing seems to faze him. He only becomes human when he returns to the U.S. Miller was amazing in those scenes. Cooper was brilliant throughout but I still wouldn’t say he was worthy of an Oscar nomination.


Because they tried to span Kyle’s life from child to death, it enviably gets quite long. The emotional punch of his demise is lost because a time stamp is used for the first time in the whole movie so you know that day is significant. I didn’t like how they handled his death. It just happened and the film is was over.

This film is good but it is not amazing. I loved Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker more in terms of story, tension and pacing. The length and repetition of American Sniper took the tension out of its sails. By the third and fourth tour, I no longer cared when happened. But I cannot deny the acting and the strength of the PTSD scenes.

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