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George At 

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American Sniper

American Sniper is a riveting, heartbreaking story of patriotism, allegiance to country and family and how devotion to both is a delicate balance. It’s also one of the most suspenseful thrillers of the year.

Bradley Cooper is terrific as Chris Kyle, a patriotic Texan burning with the desire to defend his country when he sees the terrorist attacks of 9/11. After officially becoming a SEAL in his early thirties and marrying his feisty bride, Taya (Sienna Miller) Kyle heads out on his first tour of duty in Iraq.

His talents as a long-range shooter are legendary and he soon finds himself as the most effective sniper in US history. His loyalty to his fellow soldiers runs deep and the everyday dangers to the American forces are terrifying.

In one of the film’s most riveting scenes, a mother and child approach Kyle’s squadron and he’s forced to make a decision in seconds on whether or not to shoot a child who may or may not be about to kill his fellow soldiers.

Director Clint Eastwood is at the top of his impressive game once more; following his disappointing film adaption of the Broadway hit “Jersey Boys”. While that film felt stage-bound and lethargic, Eastwood gets back to brilliance with one of his best films. SNIPER never stops moving. Eastwood and his writing team maneuver back and forth from stateside to Iraq, never wasting a moment in telling Kyle’s true-life story.

Cooper does an amazing job conveying a man torn by duty to country above all else, driven to defend his team to the last man while struggling to reconnect to life stateside. As Kyle signs up for additional tours to return to duty even as his family grows at home, Cooper deftly creates a hero that isn’t always easy to root for at home, but is always the definitive hero at war. Miller is strong and matches him scene for scene as a loving, devoted wife wondering if she has lost her husband to war, even when he is back in their home.

If you don’t know how this true story ends, I wont reference it here, but suffice to say that only real life could provide an ending so tragic. I found the film DEEPLY moving. Eastwood closes the credits in silence, which seems to be the only right choice after the incredibly powerful and emotional final montage.

This is American film-making about American heroism at its best. A+

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