American Sniper

by | Feb 17, 2015

American Sniper

I am deeply grateful for our military and the sacrifices they make to defend the freedoms that we all enjoy as Americans. I go out of my way to shake the hand of every service man and woman that I encounter, and thank them for their service. That duty profoundly affects these soldiers and the lives of their families. "American Sniper" is based on the true story of an exceptional patriot named Chris Kyle. The Warner Bros. film features Clint Eastwood's direction and Bradley Cooper’s portrayal of Chris Kyle. It shows the struggles that our military personnel go through in war and the challenges that they face once their service is done.

The Story

One of the most moving aspects of "American Sniper" was how the service of Chris Kyle affected those around him. The in-country Marines bestowed the nickname of “Legend” upon Chris in recognition of the unprecedented number of kills he is credited with. Chris considered the kills simply as his way of protecting the Marines doing their jobs in a hostile environment. His matter-of-fact attitude and his focus are what made him such a great sniper. Unfortunately, these same attributes distanced him from his wife (played by Sienna Miller) and children when he was away from the battlefield. The dichotomy between battlefield hero and distant, distracted civilian life plays throughout the film.

War is easy to film, it has all of the action and violence any film maker could want. Clint Eastwood did not take the easy path by only sensationalizing the incredible sniping ability of Chris Kyle.

The way that Chris dealt with his difficulties re-integrating into civilian life and the horrors of the battlefield was to re-enlist and serve multiple tours of duty. Protecting the American way of life and his fellow soldiers was how he attempted to exorcise his own demons. As the tours of duty continued, it became obvious that Chris didn’t think his job was done. He believed that there was a price owed for those that didn’t come back and it was his duty to exact payment. Focusing on this duty helped Chris cope with the unbelievably ugly things he encountered in war, but that focus also meant that the images of war haunted him more vividly in civilian life.

War is easy to film, it has all of the action and violence any film maker could want. Clint Eastwood did not take the easy path by only sensationalizing the incredible sniping ability of Chris Kyle. He made the extra effort to capture the emotional struggle of soldiers returning home from their tours of duty. Chris Kyle wasn’t the only soldier burdened with bringing the war back with them. The movie makes a point to show other soldiers that had trouble reintegrating back into society. Chris found solace in helping these men and women with their struggles and made it a part of his civilian life. The act of helping other soldiers was therapy for Chris. By giving of himself, Chris was able to reclaim his humanity and re-connect with his wife and children.

The ultimate irony was that after finding his own peace, Chris was killed by one of the soldiers he was trying to help.

Conclusion

"American Sniper" is a fantastic film that captures the true cost of war. It is patriotic, graphic and uncompromising in the telling. There are numerous parts of the film that are not suitable for those who are squeamish or are easily disturbed by graphic violence. This is a war movie. As such, it captures all that war entails. Adding the emotional price paid by those who served dramatically enhances the realism. The fact that "American Sniper" is based on a true story, pushes this movie over the top for me.
As an American and a father, there were parts of "American Sniper" that were difficult for me to watch. I’m glad that I did. If you can handle the violence, I would recommend "American Sniper" to you as well.

Images by Warner Bros.


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About Brian Hill
Brian Hill is a home theater enthusiast who has an extensive background in sales. His interests include music & movies, F1 & NASCAR auto racing, hot rods (he has a '56 Nomad) and hockey — Go Sharks!
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