American Sniper opened this weekend, raking in $90.2 million and earning the attention of moviegoers and pundits on both sides of the aisle. Clint Eastwood masterminded the Oscar nominated film that chronicles the life of Iraq War veteran, Chris Kyle, and earned himself the best opening weekend of his career.

Bradley Cooper who stars as Kyle, began working on the project in 2012.

In an interview with the Navy Times, Cooper explained:

“There hasn’t been a character study of a soldier that’s gone through this war that I’ve seen on film,” he said. “I liked that idea, and I thought framing it as a Western would be very interesting.”

Cooper worked with the men who trained Kyle on sniper weapons. He told The Navy Times:

“The one thing that I could control is, I wanted it to look like this guy that you’re watching is very familiar and dexterous with his weapons, and I felt successful with that.”

Cooper’s portrayal of Kyle was so successful that Kyle’s widow told the Military Times she felt as though she was watching her late husband on the silver screen, not Cooper.

Paul Rieckhoff, Iraq veteran and founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America reviewed American Sniper for Variety:

I’ve seen just about every film about the Iraq War ever made. I’ve produced and associate produced a few. I even appeared in one (for about a millisecond). And without a doubt, “American Sniper” is the single best work of film about the Iraq War ever made.

Now, it’s not the most complex film. Not the deepest film. Not even the most provocative. But in terms of storytelling, action, emotion, production and performance, attention to detail and especially the frighteningly accurate soundscape, there’s been nothing else close that’s been made since my platoon entered the war in Iraq in 2003. It’s a cinematic bull’s-eye.

Less like a sniper’s shot and more like heavy artillery, the film tells an incredible story with pounding power and brings the average civilian viewer closer to the American post-9/11 combat experience than they’ve ever been before.

Unlike many of its predecessors which were framed with a liberal political perspective, perhaps one of the most enjoying aspects of American Sniper is that there’s no political angle. As Rieckhoff observed, “American Sniper” does not, however, much address the overall complexity of the larger political issues surrounding the war — or the complexity of the Iraqi side of the experience. And that’s OK.”

American Sniper is easily one of the best modern war films I’ve seen (and I’m always a sucker for military films), falling in the same category as Saving Private Ryan, which until now, was in a class of its own.

A great story about an American hero, American Sniper is a film that honors our troops, their families, and their sacrifices.

Take the family, splurge on a big bag of buttery pop corn, maybe even a coke, and go see American Sniper. Be sure to take Kleenex; you’ll need them. You’ll leave humbled, thankful, and wanting to fly 100 American flags. I know I did.

Official Trailer here:

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