American Sniper (2014) Director: Clint Eastwood
American Sniper is loosely based on Chris Kyle’s autobiography, his memoir of his time as an American soldier abroad. It tells the story of his path toward becoming the most deadly sniper in American history, and the toll his many tours in Iraq took on his personal health, both mental and physical, and his family life. The film ends tragically, as Kyle returns home to begin serving fellow veterans, but he is suddenly killed by a veteran he was attempting to help –a reminder that the war is never exclusively fought on remote battlefields in far away locales.
Bradley Cooper stars as Chris Kyle and delivers one of his best performances. It was the highest grossing film of 2014, and it was nominated for six Academy Awards, winning only one minor award, despite its favorability among the public. Broadly speaking American Sniper does not fit the narrative of Hollywood. It paints a uniquely intimate portrait of an American soldier, perhaps even a sympathetic and empathetic picture of the American soldier. It is one Eastwood’s better contemporary films in my view.