The camera pans down the barrel of a sniper rifle until it meets the eye of Chris Kyle, the most lethal sniper in U.S. history. He’s got his finger on the trigger, peering down the scope; it is he who must watch over his brothers in arms on the ground. In his Texas drawl he informs his superiors that he’s spotted a woman who appears to have handed a grenade to a child, not 10 years old. He asks for confirmation, which his superiors cannot give — “It’s your call,” they say. It is Kyle who decides who lives and who dies, it is Kyle who must play God.

American Sniper

Warner Bros. Pictures

This trailer for Clint Eastwood’s (“Jersey Boys”) latest proves the perfect teaser, expressing the soul of the film without giving away any of its action. We sense the intensity of not just this particular scenario but the intensity of Kyle himself, this guardian angel, this angel of death. Resurrected by Bradley Cooper (“Guardians of the Galaxy”), this version of the American war hero, tragically gunned down in 2013, is stoic yet sincere, brutish yet caring. “American Sniper” looks to be a return to form for Eastwood and another critical success in the blossoming career of Cooper. Not since “The Hurt Locker” has a film about Iraq seemed so urgent, and equally timeless.

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