4 out of 5.If there are any failings about the film, they can largely be traced to its first act. Scenes that are meant to flesh out Kyle's backstory instead end up coming across as heavy-handed and overwrought with masculine clichés. And viewers may find it hard to suppress a chuckle or two at moments such as one in which a stoic Cooper marches silently towards the camera — clad in a white cowboy hat (what else) — and squints into the sunlight as he stares intently off-screen.
Fortunately, the rest of the movie isn't unintentionally farcical in the least. For after enduring the torturous rite of passage that is Navy SEALs training, then meeting, wooing and marrying Taya (an underused Sienna Miller), with whom he eventually fathers two children, Kyle is deployed to the Middle East. It's at this point that the movie really begins to earn its stripes, as Eastwood's depictions of the savagery of war are uncompromising and hard-hitting.
More importantly, it's from this point onward that we see the bulked-up and already physically convincing Cooper really emotionally disappear into his role as Kyle, whose sharpshooting prowess quickly earns him the nickname "Legend" among his fellow soldiers.
For those who may not be familiar with the story of Chris Kyle, the movie's final scenes are all the more heartbreaking and gut-wrenching, as it builds on Cooper's affecting portrayal of a man striving to overcome PTSD, who struggles on a daily basis with reconciling his duty with his morals. Forget about the controversy surrounding who Kyle was in real life, or the debate on whether the film may be too patriotic for its own good; this is what the film is truly about — it's a story about having the courage to go to the darkest depths of our own humanity, and then finding the strength to claw our way back into the light.
Judging by the audience reactions I viewed this film with, it's a film that will connect well with the American public. The film critic type audience will like it less than the average Joe type audience. I think you'll see that here as posters make their comments known about this film.TravisR said:Solid movie but Bradley Cooper is the real highlight.
Yeah, you can tell when a movie is working and I saw this with a huge crowd yesterday afternoon and they really felt something when they saw it. I think the bulk of the connection comes from Cooper's performance.Robert Crawford said:Judging by the audience reactions I viewed this film with, it's a film that will connect well with the American public.
It told a good story which is what a good movie does. However, the accuracy of this story has some serious questions, but the dramatic license taken in this film did a good job in making a very entertaining, but thought-provoking movie.TravisR said:Yeah, you can tell when a movie is working and I saw this with a huge crowd yesterday afternoon and they really felt something when they saw it.
Bingo! I was surprise that my movie audience stayed in their seats until well into silent credits. Yes, their reaction reminded of a similar reaction at my Saving Private Ryan viewing.Tim Glover said:Saw this Thursday night....
I liked it a great deal. The very critical side of me feels it was missing something and I can't quite put my finger on it but its still an excellent film.
Cooper was GREAT no doubt and his performance has touched people. Our theater was packed even on a Thursday night. What was surprising was that 80% of the crowd seemed to be college age or slightly older couples. Guys in ball caps with their dates.
When the credits rolled, no one got up. Was SO quiet. Not a word said. Just slowly people got up...not speaking; walking out of the auditorium in deep thought. I mean it was dead quiet. Very cool. That alone was moving and speaks volumes to what extent this film will touch Americans.
That after the movie experience has only happened to me once before & that was Saving Private Ryan.
Unfortunately, it's going to be one of the few BP nominees of this year that many people actually viewed prior to the AA show.Wayne_j said:I saw this today in IMAX, it was good but I prefer the other Best Picture nominees I have seen. Still a solid 4/5.
The tricky thing with Chris Kyle's story is that there are many indications that his autobiography also took a great deal of dramatic license. So there's two layers of separation between this movie and the reality of what happened. What seems certain is that he served four tours in Iraq, received two Silver Star Medals and five Bronze Star Medals among many other commendations, and is generally regarded as one of the (if not the) most lethal snipers in U.S. history.Robert Crawford said:It told a good story which is what a good movie does. However, the accuracy of this story has some serious questions, but the dramatic license taken in this film did a good job in making a very entertaining, but thought-provoking movie.
That scene works so well in the trailer but the movie adds some music that actually weakens the scene slightly. I'm sure some will disagree but the trailer feels real and scary but seeing the scene in the movie, the music makes it feel more like a movie. It's still a good scene but it works better without the music.Edwin-S said:I think a lot of people are going to see this film to see the answer to the unanswered question shown in the trailers: Does he blow away the kids that are shown in the trailer?