American Sniper Review
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This fall has seen the release of a number of war movies—most of which have taken place during World War II. But in his latest war movie, American Sniper, director Clint Eastwood takes viewers to the Middle East for a look at modern-day warfare—and one of the men who felt called to fight.

American Sniper tells the true story of Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper), a self-professed cowboy from Texas who decides to enlist out of a sense of duty to protect his country after seeing television coverage of international acts of terrorism. To his fellow soldiers, he soon becomes known as The Legend, the deadliest sniper in American military history, whose dedication and skill continuously save the lives of his fellow soldiers. But, between tours, he struggles to return to a normal life with his wife, Taya (Sienna Miller), and their two children.

Like most award season releases, American Sniper is a long movie—but this one doesn’t necessarily feel long. It tells the story that it sets out to tell without adding a lot of unnecessary fluff. It’s the story of a man who was raised to do his best—and to stand up for himself and protect those he cares about. And after he finds his calling as a sniper, he finds it difficult to be away from the action, always worrying about the lives that he’s not able to save while he’s at home with his family.

Chris is a simple, sincere, and altogether likable guy. He isn’t the kind of egotistical macho man that you often find in war movies. He doesn’t seek out the fame and recognition that he quickly earns, and he doesn’t take pleasure in killing people. He’s simply using his talents to protect his fellow soldiers while fighting for the country that he loves. And Cooper’s easy-going nature only adds to his character’s appeal, making him warm and friendly and fiercely loyal—just the kind of guy that you’d want on your side. This is an unexpected role for the typically slick and polished star, but he handles it with ease and charm.

Meanwhile, in telling Chris’s story, the film also offers a look at the devastating reality of modern warfare. On his first mission, Chris finds that he’s forced to make a difficult decision when he spots a woman and child carrying a bomb toward an American convoy. Throughout his four tours, he witnesses ambushes and attempted suicide bombings, and he meets the victims of the enemy’s torture and fear tactics. His experiences are often devastating and certainly dramatic, making this more than just another gritty action movie.

American Sniper is a tense and moving portrait of a simple guy who became a legendary soldier. It’s a challenging drama—and not exactly an uplifting one—but its honesty and simplicity make it a worthwhile experience.

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