REVIEW: Cooper, Eastwood right on target in 'American Sniper'

REVIEW: Cooper, Eastwood right on target in 'American Sniper'

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Through the lens of his rifle, the sniper sees a woman and child approaching U.S. troops with a concealed weapon. The sniper is caught in a terrible dilemma. He can save lives or he can take them away.

This is the tension-filled open to Clint Eastwood's directorial return in one of his best and most gripping films to date. This is "American Sniper," starring Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller.

+ American Sniper
+ Rated R
+ 132 minutes
+ Starring Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Jake McDorman
+ 3.5 stars out of 4

Based on true characters and events, Cooper plays U.S. Navy Seal Chris Kyle, renowned as the deadliest sniper in American history. It is a cinematic biography following Kyle from his childhood years growing up in a deeply religious home, becoming a rodeo hand, enduring the hell of Navy Seal boot camp, and throughout his four tours of duty in Iraq, in the service of his country and to defeat a growing evil.

Kyle defines "macho man" yet he, too, shows vulnerability as this film goes deep into his internal struggles while saving his fellow soldiers, confronting death and returning home to his wife and family.

Cooper blew me away in a phenomenal performance. During the course of the film, audiences begin to not so much see Cooper acting with a gun and a convincing Texan accent so much as they see the true Chris Kyle practically in the flesh on the big screen. Miller also shines as Chris' wife Taya, delivering a vital drive to Kyle's story arc and ultimate conflict: When is it enough for Chris to leave the battlefield and return home to her?

The film depicts a gruesome yet all-too-real portrayal of war, with difficult, near-heartbreaking scenes of violence which come to haunt Kyle long after he leaves the war zone.

"Sniper" is one that stays with you long after you leave the theater, fueled by the remarkable and ultimately tragic story of Kyle's life and with Eastwood's moving closing credit tribute to the now late Navy Seal.

In true fashion of filmmakers Eastwood and Cooper, they tell a raw, gripping story, and in this case, it is a really good one.

"American Sniper" is now playing in theaters nationwide.

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