Does Clint Eastwood ever sleep? At 84, he’s directing an edge of your seat war movie about Chris Kyle, a real-life Texan Navy SEAL who served four terms of duty in Iraq. The reenactment of harrowing real-life events is as believable as any movie could hope to be, and while the outcome of the story was foretold to me, I was still on the edge of my seat the entire time. Bradley Cooper is a very physical actor and he is very well cast as Kyle, who feels it is his duty to serve his country following the events of 9/11. But before that, he meets and falls in love with a woman (Sienna Miller, in a juicy role) who soon becomes his wife. What follows next establishes the mindset of the Navy SEALs, from their brutal training sessions to daily life on call in a war-torn territory. There is even room for humor in these introductory scenes, which evoke the camaraderie of men living on the edge. Eastwood stages every ambush and gun battle as if his life depends on it. But it’s the fundamental human element that matters most, and he never loses sight of that. And Bradley Cooper, free from “The Hangover” movies, gives his best performance to date.
“American Sniper” is a tough movie but a rewarding one. The final twist involving Kyle could only come from a true story, as no one would think to make it up. Clint Eastwood was determined to do justice to him, and he has succeeded with flying colors. Good job, old man.