‘American Sniper’ proves strong, controversial Oscar contender


By Haley Kerner

Gritty, raw and vulnerable are all words to describe four-time Academy Award Nominee Bradley Cooper’s performance in the 2015 release of “American Sniper

The film was directed by five-time Academy Award winner Clint Eastwood, consisting of Oscar-nominated and new, budding actors.

“American Sniper” is an exposé about family and the effects of war. It is a film adaptation of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle’s autobiography “American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History.”

The autobiography outlines Kyle’s experience during his four tours in Iraq, the effect of his PTSD on his family and the mechanisms he uses to cope.

The movie opens with a glimpse of Kyle’s life before war. His father teaches him to hunt deer and shoot rifles. Kyle joins the Navy soon after seeing the 1998 attacks on U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya on TV.

As the movie continues, it gives the audience a glimpse into his home life with his family.

“I had to get to the point where I believed I was him,” Cooper told Men’s Health magazine. “At 185 pounds, it would’ve been a joke. His size was such a part of who he was… Chris wasn’t ripped. He wasn’t sinewy. He was just a bear.”

In order to play the 225-pound Navy SEAL, Cooper gained 40 pounds of muscle. He trained twice a day with the first workout starting at five in the morning which consisted of structural exercises like dead-lifts and squat, according to the article.

The second workout, starting later in the afternoon, consisted of more muscle-building exercises. As well as the training, Cooper was also consuming over 5,000 calories per day. By the end of the 10-day routine he had gained the total 40 pounds.

“American Sniper” takes away from the valor and gloriousness of war as shown in many war movies. It gives the audience a raw glimpse into what soldiers, and especially Navy Seals, experience. Kyle is shown many times with an inner conflict about orders he is given but also a determination to keep his fellow Americans safe.

“American Sniper” has been nominated for six Academy Awards in 2015.

The 2015 Academy Awards will be broadcast on Feb. 22.

“American Sniper” is rated R “for strong and disturbing war violence, and language throughout including some sexual references,” according to the “American Sniper” movie website.