War biopic has steady aim
Heroes come in many shapes and sizes.
Born and raised in Odessa, Texas, Chris Kyle became a professional rodeo rider until injury forced him to reassess his priorities.
He enlisted with the military and his keen eye – nurtured by his father who taught him to hunt at an early age – set Kyle apart as a sniper.
During four tours of duty in Iraq, he gained the reputation as the most lethal sniper in American military history, with 160 confirmed kills to his name.
Such was his notoriety, the enemy nicknamed him “The Devil Of Ramadi” and put a sizeable bounty on his head.
When Kyle eventually returned home, deeply scarred by clashes with insurgents and the deaths of his brothers in arms, he gradually regained his humanity and reconnected with his family.
In a bitter twist, having survived Iraq, Kyle was killed by one of those traumatised veterans on a Texas shooting range.
His achievements are celebrated in Clint Eastwood’s impeccably crafted biopic, which opens on a rooftop in Iraq with Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) staring down as a woman and her young son emerge from a building carrying what looks like a weapon.
Star rating: 7/10