Spatial Openness

American Sniper (2014)
A Review By Ben Hunter
4 Out Of 5 Stars


There were gaps I feel my imagination couldn’t quite fill in the blanks.  Nonetheless, overall, I did connect with the story.


After spotting the enemy, he attempts and succeeds with one of the longest sniper kills ever recorded.  But now he has exposed his team’s position and is now caught in gunfire.  With this being his 4th tour going back into warfare, Chris Kyle, the most deadliest marksman in U.S. military history with 255 sniper kills confides in his wife Taya, amongst the gunfire that he’s ready to come home and be a husband and father for his family.  But all isn’t well as the men he couldn’t save in Iraq haunt Kyle in a pensive manner.  Taya, under duress, Kyle on the verge of a mental breakdown, how does the “American Sniper” bounce back from war, if at all?

Clint Eastwood directs an adaptation based on the book from Kyle himself and a few others to deliver his most successful film to date.  

This is a film that made me recognize the mental hardships of war.  There are war films that typically show just how the physical brutality can take its toll.  But I love how we slowly see how the cerebral effects play their part and have the potential to tear a man’s psyche, and overall well being apart.  I loved how Bradley Cooper (Kyle) portrayed this.  The work he put into the role to look the character and become a military man was work well accomplished.  I even loved his southern, Texas, country boy accent. 

The mental effects of war are starting to take their toll on American Sniper Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper). 
Eastwood, being no stranger to film, knew what to focus on.  So I was quite engaged when the relationships of Kyle’s life were at the helm and the focal point of the action.  Caught in gunfire, I experienced a man wanting to get back home to be a good man to his family.  While in confrontation, I saw strength in character yet the fair and candid nature of a hero amongst foreigners and potential threats to America.  I acutely connected with Sienna Miller’s disposition (Taya) and felt her pain as a woman crying out in desperate need of her man to lead her family and take care of her and her offspring. 

There was a feeling of spatial openness with this film.  It’s probably because I made the mistake of reading the book first.  But nonetheless, I kept feeling as if there were gaps that needed to be filled and not the successful writing job successfully accomplished where it cleverly takes you to the point where your imagination does the rest.  Instead, I felt there needed to be something more to carry me to that point where my imagination was waiting in the car to drive me the rest of the way.  As a result, I think this film in all of its capacities is taking up the space for the more deserving this awards season. 

But I did have an intense, heart racing, experience.  The sandstorm scene confirmed this for me, which made me happy to see the hero desire to be with his family.  I said, “Awe I want a family to protect and care for!”  So this is a story I still connected with nonetheless. 

I mean come on, it’s Clint Eastwood; he’s no stranger when it comes to storytelling!

American Sniper
Biography, 132 Minutes, R
Based on the book “American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History” by: Chris Kyle, Scott McEwen, & Jim DeFelice
Screenplay by: Jason Hall
Directed by: Clint Eastwood
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Kyle Gallner

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