American Sniper hit theaters on January 16 and accumulated $105.3 million over the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. The film is based on an autobiography called American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History that was published in 2012. Directed by the infamous Clint Eastwood, from films such as Gran Torino and Unforgiveness, Sniper tells the story of the most lethal sniper in United States military history.
He is Chris Kyle, a soon-to-be Texas cowboy who is still pursuing his true purpose in life. He decides to join the SEALs team, in his early thirties, after watching news stories about the terrorism going on around the world. His goal was to become a sniper, something that stems from his childhood where he went hunting with his father. After marrying Taya, a stubborn woman from Oregon who is played by Sienna Miller, Kyle starts his first tour in Iraq. He struggles with balancing his demanding times in Iraq, killing high profile targets mainly, and coming home to his wife and two children. With 160 confirmed kills and four tours of Iraq under his belt, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain the strong, all-American image he has so carefully cultivated.
Cooper pushed himself to play Kyle. He gained about 40 pounds by working out excessively and never went out of character to develop the distinct Texas accent. His determination never seems to waver as he was been nominated for Academy Awards in previous years for his roles in American Hustle and Silver Linings Playbook.
Viewing the film on opening night was an interesting experience. Cramped between other anxious individuals to get a peek at Eastwood’s magic, the tense atmosphere prevailed as Kyle’s story unfolded. The closing scenes resonated the most with others. For those of you who have not seen the film or read the book yet, I will not give it away. However, the theater was in complete silence after the film. It was partly because there was not any music to follow the credits but the emotional aspects of the movie impacted people on a more personal level. Altogether, it was a powerful and beautiful moment that Eastwood should be proud of.
So, for those of you who have yet to see American Sniper at the movie theater, it is highly recommended. Although there has been backlash from figures such as Seth Rogen and Michael Moore on social media, like Twitter, it is best to form your own opinion of the film. You can also read the 400-page book by the man who went through all of it himself. Sniper has been nominated for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Film Editing, Sound Editing, and Sound Mixing. Hopefully many will root for it at the Academy Awards on Sunday, February 22.