American Sniper



From a very early age, it was apparent that Chris Kyle could shoot well. Whether he was hunting with his dad, or later in war, he could just look through a gun scope, keep a steady hand, control his breathing, and hit his mark.

A "good ol' boy" from Texas, raised by the creed from his father, that people are in one of three groups: sheep, wolves, and sheep dogs. Kyle tried his hand at rodeo, and then eventually at a later age, enlisted into the SEALS, to protect the sheep from aggressors overseas. After 9/11, he is determined to do so. He has found his purpose.(American Sniper) tells this story.

Clint Eastwood's (American Sniper) is a film very much in the vein of Kathryn Bigelow's (The Hurt Locker), in that it focuses on the effects of battle on our soldiers when they return home to civilian life. Away from the war, back with families trying to understand, but who really can’t, on the wounds of war, the memories come bleeding through on these tortured men and woman who served.

Roger Ebert once said of Eastwood's films, that there isn't an ounce of fat on them. There is no filler or fluff, and he is right, but in the case of this film, I felt sometimes that the family story had missing pieces. Sienna Miller, who plays Chris's wife:(Taya),is very good in her early courting scenes with Cooper, and then later as the heartbroken spouse, who sees that her husband is somewhere else, even when he's home. They just seemed at times to be a short break between the next tour that Chris is deployed for, and I wish there was more of them. For the action scenes, Eastwood's quick cuts help quite a bit, as they are all tight, and will have you fully engrossed with the chaos of battle that they convey. The scene of Cooper perched on a building, with his scope aimed straight at a woman and child, who may be heading for a group of soldiers with a weapon, is a hell of a way to start this film, and all the combat scenes are truly brilliantly done. You feel for these troops as they search from house to house, not knowing whether the next civilian is friend or foe. You get the sense of comradely and the bonds they forge, as they try to make small talk about home to keep things normal. I walked away from this film feeling sad for all of these unsung heroes who give so much, in body and in mind, so we can go about our daily lives. Movies at least make us think about important things sometimes.

I have watched many interviews with the real Chris Kyle, and have read that this his wife, when she watched the film, found Bradley Cooper's performance of him to be an accurate portrayal, and Cooper truly is fantastic in this role. Adding some forty pounds to his body, the Texas twang in his voice, and the haunting thousand mile stare that he possesses throughout the movie, Cooper's sad, mournful performance will stay with you as you leave the theater. His heart is obviously committed in telling Kyle’s story, and worthy of Cooper’s Oscar nomination. When a line is crossed in the horrors of war, everyone is changed. This is not a gun ho, shoot ‘em up, kill the bad guys, and wave the flag movie. It honors and sympathizes with the people who went to war, and asks you to think about it a bit more.

I would recommend you watch the end credits for a touching montage of Chris's life in pictures, and the outpouring support he had at his funeral. You should see this movie.

watch the trailer: