It’s hard to believe how Bradley Cooper got huge to play the role of Chris Kyle in American Sniper. In order to do the role justice, he had to eat 8,000 calories and worked out four hours a day. In one scene, we see him actually deadlifting 425 pounds a few sets at a time. We see Cooper disappear into the role of the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history. Born and raised in Texas, Kyle never knew he wanted to become a NAVY Seal. After getting married to Taya (the lovely Sienna Miller), he ends up going on four tours in Iraq. His spot-on accuracy with a rifle made him save countless lives. Back home, however, he struggles to get back to his regular self after embracing his part as a sniper.
Clint Eastwood has made a harrowing character study that doesn’t just focus on the war. But more on the effects of war, and how hard it is to let go on what you have fully embraced. The war scenes have a Zero Dark Thirty vibe to them (to be fair, this is a much better film). They are raw and intense, and it feels like we are in the middle of the action. The small parts involving Chris at home are equally powerful. However, using a fake baby instead of a real one sounded a bit lazy. This is Eastwood’s big step-up after Jersey Boys.