Review: ‘American Sniper’ shoots down box office records


American Sniper stars Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller. The movie follows the heroics of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle.

Tristan Baez, Writer

‘American Sniper’ starring Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle, shattered box office records over MLK weekend. The highly praised film took in $90.2 million in its opening and a total of $105 over the long weekend.

With those numbers, director Clint Eastwood broke largest MLK weekend intake (previously held by Ride Along), largest Jan. opening (previously held by Avatar), largest R-rating opening on a 4-day weekend (previously held by Hangover Part 2), largest drama opening ever (previously held by Passion of the Christ), largest IMAX MLK weekend opening (also previously held by Avatar) , largest R-rated IMAX ever (previously held by Prometheus) and lastly, Eastwood’s biggest debut.

‘American Sniper’ is the story of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle and “the most lethal sniper in American history.” Following Kyle into his four tours and trips back home, Eastwood’s focus is on Kyle’s heroics.

The film has six Oscar nominations, including best picture and best performance by an actor in a leading role, and rightfully so.

Cooper’s performance is Oscar worthy in every sense of the word. Cooper transforms fully into Chris Kyle (which includes gaining 40 lbs) and not only conveys the strong persona, but also the PTSD that comes with being in the military, something that Eastwood brings to light.

A surprising dynamic that was introduced was the overwhelming desire for Kyle to be perfect, a theme that plays throughout the story. This “perfect” theme covers a lot, and ultimately leads to Kyle’s PTSD, a trait that was used effectively, but under-used too. While fighting a war, Eastwood is able to ground the film into multiple individual battles that is interesting to watch progress.

The film has incredible scenes, from full-out gun battles to intense shots from Kyle’s sniper (pun intended). ‘American Sniper’ even has some hilarious comedy. The drama worked really well between Kyle and his wife, Taya (Sienna Miller).

While the drama worked between husband and wife, most side characters felt very under-utilized. Other than Taya Kyle, every other character felt like they were just there for no reason. There are some team dynamics introduced between the SEALs, but even then, the characters do not really hold an emotional impact.

Amazing acting, directing and an overall great and true heroic story make ‘American Sniper’ worthy of an Oscar nomination and worthy of the commercial success it had gained thus far. This film strikes on all levels of emotion and packs a heavy punch appealing to the mass audience.

Verdict: 8.1/10*

*(This score is not including the “baby scene,” which alone deserves a -9.0/10)