You might have heard some talk about Bradley Cooper’s physical changes for his latest film, American Sniper due out December 25, but his performance is what really stands out. This gritty film directed by Clint Eastwood portrays the driven life of Chris Kyle, a Navy SEAL who is recognized as the most lethal sniper in American military history, with over 160 kills during his four tours in Iraq.
A project that came to Bradley Cooper via a friend, Jason Hall, who had just finished writing a script about Chris Kyle’s life. Bradley Cooper was immediately hooked and would embark on a quest to make the film, though it would take over 20 months to get the deal done. He first had to convince Chris Kyle and his family to be on board. Cooper never envisioned himself playing the role of Kyle, he originally thought of Chris Pratt, but his only apprehension was he didn’t believe he could play the role. After watching ‘American Sniper’ I am thrilled he played this role. He was absolutely remarkable.
For Bradley Cooper to pull off the role of Kyle he would have to put in months of training, both physically to gain 30 pounds, and get the correct twangy accent. Cooper had a complete transformation almost unrecognizable, which in my opinion made his performance that much better.
American Sniper starts off with intense drama. Cooper’s character, Chris Kyle, is on top of a building safe-guarding ground troops when the camera pans to a mother and a very young boy. The mother hands over an object we can’t clearly see to the boy. Kyle requests confirmation that it’s a pipe bomb, put the military drone from above cannot confirm. He will have to rely on his instinct. The boy begins to run towards the American troops, when you hear and see the gunshot go through the boy. The mother runs after the boy and instead of comforting her son, she picks up the object and begins to run the same direction the boy did. Kyle shoots again, but before she dies, the woman is able to throw the object. It lands at a safe distance from the troops and a few seconds later it explodes. He was right.
The movie runs through Kyle’s four tours in Iraq, each time seeing his home life crumble and suffer due to his drive to return to warfare. His ability as a lethal marksman helps save his brothers overseas. American Sniper does a great job at keeping the viewer focused on one theme – how Kyle got his “Legend” nickname.
I don’t want to give too much away of the plot line, since for me, knowing very little about this film made me appreciate it even more. If you look for movies that have the potential to be nominated for award season this is a ‘must watch’. Clint directs some great tactical combat scenes and though some can seem repetitive, Cooper’s acting kept the film riveting. His transformation was a complete shock, yet so welcoming. If you believe Cooper deserved his Best Actor nod’s for American Hustle and Silver Linings Playbook, this role just shows you how multi-faceted Cooper has become and deserving of those accolades.
If you get a chance to see the film let me know your thoughts. How likely is the film to get a best picture nod? Do you think Bradley Cooper deserves a nomination?
Happy Movie Watching,
[UPDATE: 12/11/14 SAG & Golden Globe Award nominations were released today and Bradley Cooper was not one of them. It’s a shame because he had a stellar performance]