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BRADLEY COOPER IN AMERICAN SNIPER

2014 rating: **1/2
Bradley Cooper plays Chris Kyle, the AMERICAN SNIPER who was a deadeye on the battlefield and a legend even before his tragic and bizarre murder. In Iraq, he had well over a hundred reported kills; his skills as a sniper are the best aspects as far as direction goes...

Clint Eastwood brings us up close and personal into the hidden nooks where Kyle scopes each target. Unfortunately, these scenes merely bookend an assortment of hectic raids within dilapidated desert towns while, back home between tours, we get peripheral glances into a budding family life.  

AMERICAN SNIPER doesn’t center on Kyle’s intense patriotism except a few blurted words sometimes countered by disgruntled soldiers or his wife. This hinders a potentially intriguing performance by Cooper, who seems too comfortable: There are times where we almost catch the glimpse of a tortured soul while more light is shed on his noticeable guilt, either shooting or aiming at human targets, especially children, and the sniper-at-work suspense is edgy and palpable. But Clint Eastwood doesn’t completely allow us inside the man like he did those hidden coves where the harsh yet necessary work is done: keeping Bradley Cooper from opening up and letting loose like we know he can.
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