I am a girl on a mission to see as many 2015 Oscar-nominated films as possible, and I started with American Sniper. (Well, I suppose I started with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Lego Movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies and Into The Woods, but my mission is to see more films with acting nominations, know what I’m saying?)
American Sniper was, in short, incredible. It’s the true story of Chris Kyle, a good ol’ southern boy from Texas with dreams of being a professional cowboy until he decides to enlist in the military. Having grown up hunting with his tougher-than-nails father, Kyle is a good shot, and after SEAL training he is designated as one of the top snipers in a pre- and post-September 11 world. The story takes us through Kyle’s four deployments and time at home between each, and it’s difficult to gauge which is more difficult for him: being at war or being at home.
Kyle becomes known as “Legend” because of his shooting ability and number of confirmed kills, but he meets his match in Mustafa, a sniper on the other side, and spends a great deal of his military life trying to find and kill him. The movie definitely glorifies this rivalry and sort of tries to juxtapose the lives of the two snipers, which is an interesting approach because Mustafa is only mentioned once in the book (I didn’t read it, but I looked it up). I do wish the movie had gone a little deeper into Kyle’s relationship with his brother, who was also in the military, but I think the book has more of that part of the story. I was completely shocked by a) the ending, because I did not know the full true story, and b) the fact that Kyle’s wife is played by Sienna Miller. She should have long brown hair all the time!
Do I think American Sniper will win Best Picture? No, probably not, but I think it will win for Writing (Adapted Screenplay) and Film Editing. Do I think Bradley Cooper will win Best Actor? I have to see The Theory of Everything before I can make that assessment, but I hope he does win solely because if he doesn’t, he may start developing Leonardo DiCaprio Syndrome: Always a nominee, never a winner.