Viewed – 01 August 2015 Online rental
Certainly one of the most talked about movies in recent memory that garnered a lot of attention around awards season, even though it was largely snubbed. A shame as this true story of elite Navy Seal Sniper ‘Chris Kyle’ is powerful and very well acted, and a career best I’d say for actor Bradley Cooper.
During several tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, Kyle and his band of brothers face battles and atrocities as they attempt to track down various targets and get back home in one piece. A rather unrecognisable Sienna Miller plays Kyle’s wife who is fighting her own battles raising two children whilst worrying about their father, as he becomes more and more traumatised by the horrors he witnesses. This is a totally engrossing and authentic experience that pulls few punches when showing just how terrible war can get, and with the setting of a present day conflict, the back drop of 9/11 and real-world terrorism, I found this educational and heart breaking. Cooper is excellent, considerably beefed up and probably more earnest and believable than I’ve ever seen him – he really went for it here, and it pays off. If I was to nit-pick, I could say some of the other characters, such as Kyle’s brother and the other marines were under developed. Also Iraqi locales are all portrayed rather one-dimensionally. Yet with a very strong central performance and some well directed action and battle scenes with plenty of tension – this was still a pretty formidable experience, that left me rather shaken.
Clint Eastwood once again proves he’s as much a presence behind the camera as he is in front, and has delivered a very well made, respectful and thought-provoking study of the harrowing effects of war and that of a true American hero. Essential.
Verdict: 5 /5