At First Glance: “American Sniper”

Some films don’t need a lot of flashing action scenes where things go boom in order to entice a film goer. Some just need one tense scene to get its hooks in.

The first trailer for the upcoming Warner Bros. Pictures “American Sniper” really puts you in the hot seat and doesn’t let go until the end, if then.

This biographical action film stars Bradley Cooper (upcoming “Serena”, “Guardians of the Galaxy”), Sienna Miller (upcoming “Foxcatcher”, “A Case of You”), Luke Grimes (“Squatters”, “True Blood”), Kyle Gallner (“Play it Again, Dick”, “Dear White People”), Sam Jaeger (“Parenthood (TV series)”, upcoming “Inherent Vice”), Jake McDorman (“Manhattan Love Story”, “Shameless”), and Cory Hardrict (“Transcendence”, “Lovelace”).

The film is directed by Clint Eastwood (“Jersey Boys”, “J. Edgar”) and written by Jason Dean Hall (“Paranoia”, “Spread”). It is based on the memoir of the same name by Chris Kyle.

The film is expected to hit theaters in a limited capacity on Dec. 25, 2014 and a wider release on Jan. 16, 2015.

Unlike most trailers this first one mainly focuses on a specific scene featuring Cooper. He’s keeping an eye out, in his perch, and being ready too shoot when need be. For a trailer to go this route, it’s fascinating. It actually works really well, even if it shifts this trailer a little bit more towards the teaser area.

It mainly works, for two reasons. The accompanying bit of score, whether it’s exclusively for this trailer or part of the film, really builds up an impressive amount of tension. The second time I watched it I was surprised by how sucked in I got. The second reason, is it’s just a simple and slow building character scene. Watching as Cooper performs specific actions that are needed for the job his character does. You hear him speak a little too and know even more about who he’s playing.

The next thing that’s interesting, as the studio could’ve gone without this and still been effective, was the intercut scenes of the characters family life. Each scene, shown quite quickly, shows there’s so much more to this man, plus a lot of drama that will be ever present.

I’m excited enough as this is another film with Cooper in it, and it works really well in showing he’s truly capable of deep and complicated dramatic acting; that it’s not some sort of fluke when he stars in two successful drama films.

I’m expecting that the next trailer or trailers, will expand greatly on all the characters, and that we’ll get a chance at knowing if he’s capable of being believable as this well known sniper. For me, those scenes of acting will tell me all I’ll need to know about this film. Eastwood’s name in the trailer itself, serves as enough reason too begin getting excited. Only question is, does Eastwood and Warner Bros. think that this film can garner any recognition with awards, when it seems to be coming out of left field? That’s at least what it appears they’re aiming for.

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