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American Sniper (15)

Action, Biography, Drama

Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle's pinpoint accuracy saves countless lives on the battlefield and turns him into a legend. Back home to his wife and kids after four tours of duty, however, Chris finds that it is the war he can't leave behind.

The critical consensus

Cooper gives a commendable, committed performance, but it’s a pity Eastwood prefers the legend of a heroic patriot to the complex and flawed human recorded in Kyle’s own memoirs.

***(*)(*)Siobhan Synnot, The Scotsman, 12/01/2015

Cooper’s performance grounds a solid, authentic drama – Eastwood’s best since Letters From Iwo Jima – that is less about one single field of combat than the price of war itself.

****(*)Neil Smith, Total Film, 11/01/2015

Oscar heralds will no doubt dub it The Hurt Locker for snipers, but the fitting combo of Clint Eastwood and Bradley Cooper have created a thrilling Iraq war story that manages to both honour the necessities of heroism and ruminate on what heroism might cost a man.

****(*)Ian Nathan, Empire Online, 12/01/2015

No matter how well made and compelling Eastwood’s film is, to produce something this incurious about its troubling real life subject, to promote his “legend” with little more than jingoistic hagiography, is at best disingenuous and distasteful. At worst, in the current landscape, it’s grossly irresponsible.

***(*)(*)Chris Fyvie, The Skinny,15/01/2015

It's a vivid but simplistic picture of a man who dealt with life-or-death issues with shocking regularity, although Eastwood’s infectious sympathy for Kyle and ease with the actors and action ultimately triumphs over the film’s lack of engagement with either marital or wider political issues.

***(*)(*)Eddie Harrison, The List, 12/01/2015

Impressive in the particulars, weaker on the whole.

***(*)(*)Keith Uhlich, Little White Lies, 15/01/2015

American Sniper is not afraid to show Kyle's dark side and the contradictions in his personality – and that is why it has such resonance.

****(*)Geoffrey MacNab, The Independent, 16/01/2015

Eastwood has always been fascinated by the consequences of violence and American Sniper is a tense, troubling addition to his distinguished body of work.

****(*)Allan Hunter, Daily Express, 16/01/2015

Cooper’s increasingly haunted performance grounds the film so that while corny war movie clichés abound (a grunt discussing how he’s going to propose to his girlfriend is once again a sure sign that there’s a bullet with his name on it), the action sequences that supply American Sniper with its jacked-up, heart-in-the-mouth tension don’t simply devolve into war porn.

***(*)(*)Alistair Harkness, The Scotsman, 17/01/2015

Superbly acted and well crafted, the result is fiercely tense, authentic and tragic. Cooper gives the best performance of his career to date and Miller is excellent.

****(*)Henry Fitzherbert, Sunday Express, 18/01/2015

As such, it makes for disturbing viewing, the understandably clumsy closing coda (necessitated by events in 2013) forcing the film finally towards flag-waving endorsement in the face of unfolding tragedy at home.

***(*)(*)Mark Kermode, The Observer, 18/01/2015

Cooper works hard to convey a sense of internal conflict, and while the film itself is likely to divide opinion, there’s no doubt that he hits his mark.

***(*)(*)Stephen Carty, Flix Capacitor, 22/01/2015

Features about American Sniper (15)

American Sniper: an old-fashioned western in military uniform

Danny Leigh, The Guardian, 29/01/2015

Where and when?

General release. Check local listings for show times.

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