Four-and-a-half out of five kernelsBY KAYLEE BREWSTER
While “American Sniper” is proving to be a controversial topic, the fact that it is a well-acted and well-crafted film leaves no room for debate.
“American Sniper” follows the story of Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper), who became America’s deadliest sniper with over 160 kills. And that’s only the confirmed ones.
The story not only follows his life on the battlefield, but also his life at home with his wife Taya (Sienna Miller), as well as their efforts to deal with life after war.
Cooper, in his role as Kyle, is like watching a master at his craft. It is incredible and his performance sucks you in. Cooper not only transforms into his role, he is also transparent.
“American Sniper” takes you inside Kyle’s head. You watch him react to his world and you understand him. You don’t feel as if you are there, you feel like you are Kyle.
Soon, the film becomes not just about the war going on in the Middle East, but the war that rages inside of Kyle. The moral war with the life and death calls he has to make; the war between wanting to protect soldiers and wanting to be there for his family; the war inside his head when he comes home and is dealing with post-traumatic stress. It all makes for a very personal and emotional film.
The cinematography also helps. Wide, establishing shots help you see the where it’s all going on — places of dust, dirt, desert, and crumbling cities. But then there are moments where the camera comes in close and focuses on characters’ faces, and you get the human side.
The editing also helps create tension in the battle scenes. There are fast cuts between characters, wide shots, close shots, all of which combine to create a sense of tension. But “American Sniper” isn’t as tense as some war movies. There are certainly moments of tension, but then the moments pass and you can relax, rather than constantly sitting at the edge of your seat right from the start.
“American Sniper” isn’t the war movie I thought it would be. It was more. It was the story of a man who wanted to serve his country. It is beautifully acted and told. When I walked out of the theater I thought I had been through war, or at least seen war through Kyle’s eyes. It’s a movie that will stick with you.
Brewster can be reached at (208) 848-2238 or by email at email@example.com.