‘American Sniper’ sinks below Academy target

Dakota Ratley

“American Sniper” is taking aim at the Oscars, but does it really deserve to?

The movie stars Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle. Kyle is a good ole country boy from Texas who enlists in the Navy after the tragedy of September 11, 2001. He would go on to be called the deadliest sniper in United States history. At the end of his time in the military, Kyle had claimed to record 160 confirmed kills and the probable number of kills is in the 200s. Others have debated these numbers.

Kyle soon finds himself dealing with the problems that come with being a soldier. He struggles with losing his friends during battle, his relationships at home and a bad case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The movie has been criticized vastly over its week-long run in theaters. Many see the movie as pro-war, and a picture that glamorizes killing. Others look at it through the scope of just being the reality of war.

However, the Academy Awards obviously showed plenty of love for the movie. The film was nominated in six categories including best picture, best actor and best-adapted screenplay.

The movie was good. It was far from great. The Academy blew it.

“American Sniper” was not even the best war movie to come out during this award season. “Fury” contained a better story and a better acting performance from Brad Pitt. That’s not to say that this is a bad movie, just badly overhyped. It’s a decent movie, probably the best movie that is in theaters at the moment besides “Selma.”

Bradley Cooper obviously puts a lot of effort into his performance, but it comes out feeling hollow. Maybe that’s supposed to be the point. Kyle has PTSD, which makes him a bit hollow. The script doesn’t help the audience connect to the character enough.

That’s the issue with the film. There is a great story to be told. Sure, there are glimpses into Kyle’s psyche, and that is where the film excels. Kyle loved war. He enjoyed his job. That’s why he kept coming back. He was addicted to the rush. The movie just strays from it too much.

The movie tries to put too much emphasis on the battle scenes. The script fails at building any kind of tension during the fights besides one scene toward the end. It honestly feels like it limits Cooper’s chances to show how good of an actor he can be.

It’s not Oscar-worthy. “Gone Girl” “Nighcrawler” and “Interstellar” all could have gotten the nod for best picture over this film.

The story of the sniper ends up just missing the mark.