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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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One step away
June 8, 2024

The legend that is ‘American Sniper’

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When you enter a movie theater to see a war movie, especially one that is talked about as much as “American Sniper” has been, you expect it to be intense until the end, realistic as if from the battlezone and, in a word, awesome. “American Sniper” had all these qualities as Bradley Cooper transformed on screen into burly Navy SEAL Chris Kyle.
The biographical drama takes place in early 2000s Iraq, fresh after 9/11, and follows Chris Kyle’s entrance into the military after he is inspired by news coverage of the war in the Middle East.
Bradley Cooper has been on the rise in the film industry since his performances in the Hangover trilogy, and has become quite excellent at selecting movies where he invests his time and effort.
In “American Sniper” he isn’t surrounded by a superstar cast, such as “American Hustle” and “Silver Linings Playbook.” He proved he can take a movie and own it without being just a supporting actor.
Actors like Mark Wahlberg thrive in these movies, but Cooper shows his versatility, playing a character far different from that in “Limitless” or “The Words.”
The movie starts with Cooper’s character, Chris Kyle, taking his first sniper shot on an insurgent woman before taking the audience on a flashback into his decision and process to become a SEAL -— a pretty cliché technique, especially since it’s directed by Clint Eastwood, who is a movie veteran and adds his own gray filter that he likes to use in his movies. Another platitude is how much the film emphasized Kyle’s Texas origins through Cooper’s character. Kyle’s cowboy persona is played up with a thick accent and bears a stereotypical overdone southern demeanor. However, after reading a little about who Kyle actually was, it was justified since he was an actual horse-riding native Texan.
Throughout the movie Kyle becomes a living legend, recording an overwhelming number of kills and protecting his fellow comrades at any cost. But even though they portray Kyle as the best sniper in American history, he doesn’t actually snipe as much as you expect him to. The film instead shows him clearing buildings to get more action and creates another plotline. This steers away from the sniper theme and brings up questions of what the movie is really about. Don’t expect a movie solely about a sniper and his gun.
The character development is well done as the production team shows the metamorphosis of a fun-loving cowboy to a war-torn veteran when Cooper is forced to come back to domestic life. This creates some of the main conflict in the movie and puts the audience on edge, sometimes more than when in a battlezone, because Cooper effectively depicts a soldier ready to act on his post-traumatic stress disorder-induced flashbacks.
“American Sniper” isn’t only about Kyle’s journey through his four tours in Iraq but about the effect war has on soldiers. This prompts audience members to sympathize with Kyle and adds another layer to the movie.
“American Sniper” lives up to the hype and so far looks to come up big in the Oscar race, elevating Bradley Cooper to higher prestige in the acting world.
Jack Riewe is an English junior and a life and arts writer for The Battalion.

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