How does Clint Eastwood generate emotional response in ‘American Sniper’ (2014)
I am going to micro analyse the scene from ‘American sniper’ when Chris Kyle, played by Bradley Cooper shoots a Taliban soldier carrying a rocket launcher and a little boy then picks it up. American Sniper is a film based on the biography of Chris Kyle (America’s most dangerous sniper), it was released in 2014 and was directed by Clint Eastwood. This essay will focus on the way that key micro features help to create a realistic film world for the viewer. The selected micro features are … In the selected scene from American Sniper we see Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) laying on a rooftop glancing down on the street being an ‘overwatch’ for the American troops below. The mise-en-scene for this part of the scene looks well thought through, for instance he is seen in a dusty, bomb damaged urban area with rubble and burnt out cars around. He is laying on some sort of improvised bed with blankets on. This use of props is convincing for the audience because this could have been created from junk that was just laying around that has put together to give him the higher angle that he needs to obtain a better view. As well as the setting and props that appear in this scene another important element of mise-en-scene in this section of the film is costume. Chris is wearing a brown/yellow uniform which is instantly recognisable as an army uniform. This costume helps the audience develop their understanding of who Chris Kyle is (an American soldier), where the scene is set (the desserts of the middle east) and his role ( a covert sniper who needs to remain hidden to do his job). The connotation of the uniform is that the audience perceive Chris Kyle as a hero, a soldier sanctions by his country to fight, a protector of others and a man with the power of life and death at his finger tips. The uniform and its connotations help the audience form an emotional attachment to him as a character. The next shot in this scene is a close up of Chris’s face that appears to be emotionless as he glances down the scope protecting his men. Throughout this part of the scene it is calm as he studies the battlefield and watches the spot where there is a possible threat. The audience realise that he is under control, confident, and a very capable soldier. This helps them to feel confident that he is very good at his job an will be successful in his mission, reinforcing his heroic status. This status promoted further as there are no signs of nerves or panic even though the situation is tense and dangerous. The next camera angle is a point of view shot that has a slight sway to make the audience feel like it is Chris holding the rifle. This technique places the audience in the action and again helps to build their attachment to Chris as a character. They are literally in the action seeing the world through Chris’s eyes. When a member of the Taliban appears in his sights he keeps him in his crosshairs watching his every move. Every few seconds the camera cuts back to Chris’s face which stays completely emotionless. Even when the Taliban fighter aims an RPG at the American Humvee his emotions stay the same. At this point, without showing any change in his breathing or emotions, Chris takes his shot and kills the Taliban soldier. The lack of emotion shown and matter of fact way that he kills shows the audience that he is ruthless and that killing is not a big deal to him; that he has accepted his role and is comfortable with the things that he has to do to protect the other soldiers. The attention to detail of Bradley Coopers’ performance is remarkable. He watches on relentlessly with complete focus waiting for the perfect moment to execute his shot and this portrays a snipers attitude very effectively. The audience feel that this is the way that all snipers behave and provides them with an insight in to the emotions, or lack of emotions, that they need to become effective...
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