American Sniper

A record-shattering $103.5M opening weekend made me think this was another super-hero movie. After I saw it, I realized that it IS a super-hero movie! This super hero is a home-grown Texan named Chris Kyle who became a legend during four tours in Iraq as he saved countless lives using pin-point accuracy with a high-powered rifle. The enemy put a price on his head.

Based on Kyle's autobiographical best seller and directed by Clint East- wood ("Gran Torino"), we see a little boy learn fair play and marksman- ship from his father before the events of 9/11 spur him into the military. We see bits of a grueling Navy SEAL boot camp followed by graduation and deployment to Fallujah, where his skills are quickly utilized.

Here is a small part of the large cast:
  • Bradley Cooper ("Guardians of the Galaxy") is Kyle, who matures over the course of the four tours of duty but who never loses his sense of humor or his devotion to his wife, family and country.
  • Sienna Miller ("Foxcatcher") is his wife Taya, who sees his personality change as the death toll mounts. She conveys the tough understanding that is so vital for military spouses.
  • Sammy Sheik ("Lone Survivor") is Mustafa, the deadly marksman nicknamed Keyser Söze after the phantom killer in the film "The Usual Suspects." Their duel becomes a personal vendetta between the two men.
With 6 Oscar nominations including Best Picture and Best Actor, Holly- wood snipers are out in full force taking pot shots at the story, the military and the film's success. Those who knew Kyle say Cooper has duplicated his persona and his speech with spooky accuracy. It's good to see an actor put his money where his mouth is (he also serves as an executive producer).

Personally, I appreciated the realistic reactions of a veteran, just back from a war zone, when he hears a lawnmower, encounters a video game or sees a dog tussling with his son.

This is R-rated, so expect authentic military language (bawdy, profane, and very funny), implied torturing (with a gruesome power drill!), some blowie uppie stuff, and many, many gunshots. The climactic battle in the film takes place in a sandstorm, so we don't see much of that action; instead we hear the voices and draw our conclusions from them.

The postscript includes snapshots of the actual people; this story is, after all, based on that of a real man.
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Here is the trailer:
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