Trailer Face-Off: American Sniper vs. Serena

Published October 9, 2014

Welcome to Thursday Trailer Face-Off, a feature in which we cast a critical eye on two similar upcoming film releases, pitting them against each other across a variety of categories to determine which is most deserving of your two hours. This week: American Sniper vs. Serena: two films in which Bradley Cooper must overcome obstacles.

The PremiseAmerican Sniper is a biographical-action film concerning the “most lethal sniper in U.S. History,” based on the book of the same name by Chris Kyle.  The film depicts the intensive job of hunting down dangerous attackers (like Ramadi insurgents) for the sake of king and country (or something like that), all while remaining calm and collected.  It follows Kyle as he remembers his military career from 1999 to 2009.

Adapted from the novel by Ron Rash and set in North Carolina in the 1930s, Serena focuses on timber magnate George Pemberton, and his love interest Serena Shaw. After marrying, the two partner up on George’s timber business, only to find out it’s value has diminished.  There’s murder, betrayal, child bearing, and love-what more could one ask for?Advantage: Serena

The ManBradley Cooper has significant roles in both films. In American Sniper, Cooper is contemplative, determined, and thrilling. His stern gaze in the trailer sets a very serious tone to the film. Playing a U.S. assassin is a refreshing change from the comedic characters he’s played in past films like The Hangover series. Though Cooper’s performance in Serena looks alluring, we’ve seen him play drama-filled romance before. His role as sniper Chris Kyle seems more challenging, after all, he did bulk up 40 lbs. for the part and everyone knows you only do that for an Oscar film.Advantage: American Sniper

The WomenSienna Miller plays Cooper’s wife in American Sniper. From the mini-flashes we see of her in the trailer, Sienna’s role is emotional and moving. That said, we doubt she’ll be given much screen time: the story focuses on Chris Kyle’s time serving his country and Miller’s not above taking bit-parts, her role in Foxcatcher is miniscule at best. In Serena, Jennifer Lawrence plays the titular character and the wife of Cooper’s character. We’ve seen their chemistry and even Lawrence knows they work well together, as rumor has it she was the one who recommended him for the part. The pairing is both a fan and Oscar favorite.Advantage: Serena

The DirectorsThe famed Clint Eastwood directs American Sniper. In case you’ve forgotten, Eastwood has won Oscars for both Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby. Serena is directed by Danish filmmaker, Susanne Bier. Although she won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film with In a Better World, this is only Bier’s second American film.Advantage: American Sniper

The Actual TrailersFrom the courting to the failing business to the romantic discord, Serena’s trailer displays many pieces of the film in order to reveal the plotline and grab the viewers’ attentions. American Sniper also captures the audience, but with a simple scene that ends in a cliffhanger. Advantage: American Sniper

The VerdictThough both films are worth watching, American Sniper is an action-packed drama not to be missed.Winner: American Sniper

Trailer Face-Off runs every Thursday. For more, click here