Eastwood's Sniper Is His 'Best in Years'
Bradley Cooper delivers as the US' deadliest sniper
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 16, 2015 12:32 PM CST

(Newser) – An Oscar nominee for best picture, American Sniper stars Bradley Cooper as the late Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, considered the deadliest sniper in US history. Based on Kyle's 2012 autobiography, the Clint Eastwood-directed flick follows the soldier to war and back. Is it worth the journey? Here's what critics are saying:

  • Ty Burr at the Boston Globe writes that this "great and terrible" flick is "a soldier's story, as honest as its director can make it." In fact, the lack of glory means "American Sniper may be the hardest, truest movie ever made about the experience of men in war." Sienna Miller is "very touching" as Kyle's wife, while a sandstorm at the climax of the movie is a "brilliant" sequence, Burr writes. However, Eastwood "botches the ending of this story."
  • Cooper is "very good," portraying a "humble and companionable movie hero caught in a war Eastwood has no interest in putting up for geopolitical discussion," writes Michael Phillips at the Chicago Tribune. Miller, too, is "effective every second." The film is "one life-and-death sequence after another, and the filmmaking's efficient, crisply delivered," Phillips writes. "But Eastwood honors his subject without really getting under his skin."

  • Soren Andersen at the Seattle Times says American Sniper is arguably Eastwood's "best picture since Unforgiven." Cooper rounds off "the harsher edges of the persona Kyle presents in the book," but "all movies based on real-life incidents take such liberties," Andersen writes. Cooper is able to deliver "a performance of great subtlety," while the film as a whole is "powerful and intense."
  • Jake Coyle agrees American Sniper is Eastwood's "best movie in years." It's "quintessentially Eastwood: a tautly made, confidently constructed examination of the themes that have long dominated his work," Coyle writes at the AP. Cooper is "extraordinary," while the film is "both a tribute to the warrior and a lament for war" that leaves politics behind. The downside: "It's lacking context. Few Iraqis here are seen as anything but the enemy."