One of the bigger Academy Award-season X-factors is "American Sniper," the Clint Eastwood-directed, Bradley Cooper vehicle that charts the true story of the most deadly sniper in American history. And while it's hard to know where it will end up in the Oscar derby, a new teaser trailer that is almost uncomfortably intense suggests that this is going to be one hell of a ride.
The trailer basically takes place in the framework of a single sequence, with Cooper as Chris Kyle, a U.S. Navy Seal in Iraq, staring out across a rubble-strewn courtyard. At first things seem okay, until he spots a woman and a child. And the woman seems to be... holding something. The trailer doesn't answer whether or not he pulled the trigger, but that's almost beside the point; it cuts in fragments of Kyle's personal life (Sienna Miller, completely out of her glamorous element, plays his wife) and audio of his own beating heart, to create something inescapably suspenseful. As far as artfully done trailers go, this one is hard to top.
"American Sniper," which was originally envisioned as a Steven Spielberg project before Eastwood took over, will see limited release on December 25th of this year before expanding nationwide on January 16th. You know, for those of you who want some light holiday viewing.