American Sniper Review

American Sniper Review

Our Rating


Clint Eastwood’s latest directorial effort tells the true story of US Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history (with 160 confirmed kills, and 255 “probable” kills).


Eastwood has covered war to great effect before in Heartbreak Ridge, Flags of Our Fathers and Letters From Iwo Jima. But this is the first time he’s so deeply examined the tragic physical, emotional and psychological toll war takes on both the men and women who fight and their families back home.



As Kyle, Bradley Cooper has never been better. Bulked up almost beyond recognition, with a pitch-perfect Texas drawl, he exudes the confidence and intensity of a sharp-shooter unaccustomed to missing his target. That is, until he’s tasked with shooting a small Iraqi boy who is forced by his mother to smuggle a grenade into a column of advancing Marines.


Cooper lends his character layers of depth and vulnerability beyond the bravado and machismo. Each time Kyle returns home to his wife (Sienna Miller) and child, he’s more haunted by the ghosts of the men he couldn’t save, and more determined to kill the Iraqi sniper who becomes his mortal enemy.


Because of the “lone wolf” nature of the sniper’s occupation, this feels less like a traditional war movie than a modern-day version of Clint’s classic gunslinger films. Kyle is steely-eyed and poker-faced, with his actions on the battlefield rarely betraying the turgid emotions roiling within. But at home he’s clearly a broken man increasingly afflicted with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.


American Sniper Review


For better or worse, Eastwood avoids any sort of rah-rah American patriotism and the self-mythologizing of Kyle’s book (his estate recently lost a $1.8 million defamation lawsuit to Jesse Ventura, after Kyle boasted about beating up the former Minnesota governor in a bar fight).


The straightforward direction of American Sniper isn’t likely to win Eastwood any more Oscars, but Cooper deserves another nomination for his harrowing turn. The heartbreaking coda, in which Kyle is murdered by a fellow vet at a shooting range, ends the film on a potent note.  –Bret Love


RATING: R (for strong and disturbing war violence, and language throughout including some sexual references)
GENRE: Drama , Action & Adventure
DIRECTED BY:  Clint Eastwood

Jason Hall

MAIN CAST: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Luke Grimes, Kyle Gallner, Jake McDorman

STUDIO: Warner Bros. Pictures

1 Comment

  • Jackson Walsh says:

    I was already planning on seeing this film, but it looks even better thanks to this review. The main character seems troubled, but the type of trouble that doesn’t amount to being a trouble maker. He’s doing his job and on the job has seen graphic events beyond the average man’s comprehension. It seems like another level for Eastwood’s direction. Nicely written review.

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