Controversial military marksman Chris Kyle had the largest number of kills in American history (160 confirmed about of 255 claimed). The release of this film coincided with the trial of his murderer – a presumed Islamist convert veteran taking advantage of Kyle’s post-war work with the wounded. This is a remarkably humane and well-handled biopic of a man who got caught up in one of the biggest and most damaging wars undertaken in the Middle East. There have been several films about Iraq but none had the emotional impact of this and in fact was the biggest opening weekend Clint Eastwood ever experienced as a filmmaker – deservedly so. Expertly mounted, with extraordinarily good juxtapositions (eg Kyle’s pregnant wife calls him on his cellphone when he’s got a target in his crosshairs), backstory and scene-setting, it also illustrates star Cooper’s acting chops are no accident and he’s one of the producers too. Loosely adapted from Kyle’s memoir by Jason Hall, this got predictably bad reviews on this side of the Atlantic – especially from politicised Irish reviewers, as expected. It’s an exceptional piece of work. Go see.