American Sniper  =  9.5

Three-word commentary:  Intense; Engrossing; Pitiful

The full review:

Clint Eastwood never makes a bad movie. When you see his name associated with directing a film, think in the company of Stephen Spielberg, Ron Howard and Martin Scorcese.

     Such is the case with American Sniper, the latest opus from of the 84 year-old legendary actor/director.

     This is not just a good movie, it is one of the best war movies to be released in recent years and will go down as an epic to be remembered in future evaluations about the top movies of all time.

     Going in, we all know what the true story is about. Simple Texas cowboy meets the love of his life, marries, then feels the call for duty to serve his country after 9/11 awakens America to the threat of radical Islam. A sharp, in-shape guy, Chris Kyle enlists in the Navy to be a SEAL.

     The next ten years swallows his life, as he serves not one, not two, but four deployments to Iraq, — totalling over 1000 days – eventually dubbed “The Legend” because of his deadly accuracy with a sniper rifle. More than 160 occasions, he saved hundreds of lives, American and otherwise, detecting suicide killers and other stealth insurgents moments before they were able to kill squadrons of American soldiers.

     But the heroism came with a price, and that is clearly depicted when the patriot, Chris Kyle, comes home on leave, only to feel detached and disassociated from his family, breaking the heart of his loyal wife, Taya, deftly played by actress, Sienna Miller. His obsession with war, his calling as a protectorate of his fellow soldiers and the dreaded PTSD drives his marriage to the brink of ruin.

     This is a work of genius and sheer talent by actor Bradley Cooper, who virtually becomes Chris Kyle. Cooper had to bulk up some 40 pounds of muscle to play the role. He is well-deserving of his Oscar nomination.

      Few other war movies are so engrossing, capturing the sights, smells and feelings of American soldiers in wartime situations, as this movie. The two hours went by like 20 minutes.

     American Sniper should win Oscar for Best Picture, but the competition is tough, with Selma and Boyhood in the hopper as well.

     I give this a 9.5