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'American Sniper': Reviews Mixed for Eastwood's Chris Kyle Biopic

Posted by on Dec. 20, 2014 at 9:08 AM
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American Sniper" opens in theaters Dec. 25, and the Bradley Cooper movie about a military sniper is receiving mixed reviews that are more good than bad.

With a 71 rating on Rotten Tomatoes, 12 reviewers said the movie is “fresh” while five gave it a “rotten” ranking.

The Wrap criticized the film’s development of Cooper’s character, the sniper Chris Kyle. “‘American Sniper’ is an uncomplicated portrait of a man denied complexity and depth. Played by a pinched, marble-mouthed Bradley Cooper, the late Navy SEAL Chris Kyle is laureled for his patriotism, his 160 kills (the most in U.S. history), and his roles as a husband and father. … The result is not unlike watching a suspenseful but highly repetitive video game, especially since nearly every Iraqi is seen through Kyle’s highly perched rifle scope.”

But Variety’s Justin Chang didn’t agree on that assessment of “American Sniper,” which was directed by Clint Eastwood.

“Hard-wiring the viewer into Kyle’s battle-scarred psyche thanks to an excellent performance from a bulked-up Bradley Cooper, this harrowing and intimate character study offers fairly blunt insights into the physical and psychological toll exacted on the front lines, yet strikes even its familiar notes with a sobering clarity that finds the 84-year-old filmmaker in very fine form,” Chang wrote.

The movie is based on the real-life story of Kyle, a Navy SEAL with a confirmed 160 kills. He co-wrote the book “American Sniper: An Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History.” Kyle was killed in February 2013 by a former Marine he was apparently trying to help.

David Denby of the New Yorker agreed with Chang’s view of “American Sniper”: “Both a devastating war movie and a devastating antiwar movie, a subdued celebration of a warrior's skill and a sorrowful lament over his alienation and misery.”

by on Dec. 20, 2014 at 9:08 AM
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