American Sniper is one of perhaps three films* that I’ve seen all year which profoundly capture the pure essence of an individual.
Everything about it is distilled through the singular goal of telling the story of Chris Kyle, “America’s most lethal sniper”, during his four tours as a Navy SEAL in the Iraq War. Kyle is a man who I would have had almost nothing in common with either on an intellectual level or even simply as a matter of personality.
Yet through the phenomenal directing by Clint Eastwood, and the masterful portrayal by Bradley Cooper, I came out of the theater deeply understanding the character of Chris Kyle. Who he was as a human being; what he believed; why he believed it… And yet at no point did the film make any heavy-handed push for me to agree with the way he saw the world. That’s a trait that is nearly impossible to achieve as a director and speaks to Eastwood’s absolute mastery as a filmmaker.
In a recent interview with The Star, Eastwood explained his point of view: