American Sniper

Rated 3.0

While Clint Eastwood's film has plenty of problems, Bradley Cooper rises above the patchy melodrama and overly slick segments with his portrayal of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. Kyle holds the American sniper record of 160 confirmed kills, and was killed by a veteran he was trying to mentor on a shooting range. The film works best when depicting Kyle at work in Iraq, constructing some very tense battle scenes and sequences as seen through Kyle's riflescope. There's a subplot involving an enemy sniper named Mustafa (Sammy Sheik) that feels like an entirely different movie. For some reason, Eastwood employs a showier style in the scenes involving Mustafa, which feel a bit false and artificial alongside the movie's grittier moments. Saddled with the film's worst dialogue, Sienna Miller battles hard in trying to make Kyle's wife, Taya, an intriguing movie character. Cooper, who physically transformed himself for the role, does an excellent job of conveying the difficulties and stress that Kyle's job entailed. He's an actor forever taking risks and challenging himself, and he's a big reason to see this movie.