Friday, January 16, 2015

American Sniper - an eye opener of a film

Bradley Cooper (right) as Chris Kyle, the American Sniper.
What to write about this movie?  I don't even know where to begin because this film is so excellent on so many levels.  American Sniper should win every Academy Award out there because of the brilliant quality of the film.

This is a war film right up there with the best:   The Hurt Locker, Saving Private Ryan, Deer Hunter, Apocalypse Now, Coming Home,The Longest Day.  Add American Sniper to the list and Clint Eastwood as its brilliant director.  This is above all the best film Eastwood has directed ever.

I was captivated and engaged, in fact, glued too the film screen.  This film portrays the guerrilla war our soldiers are engaged in over in Iraq and Afghanistan twenty-four hours a day.  It is tough, gritty, and honest.   It portrays the soldier's lives as always on the line; they can never put the gun down.  If they do, they are gone in an instant.

And the hits just keep coming from all directions.  It could be Al Queda, ISIS, the Taliban, the Sunni's, the Sharia or anyone else fighting for control of Iraq.  And, sadly and most difficult to watch are the women and children these factions use to fight the U.S. soldiers. They tote guns, they throw bombs, they become suicide bombers.  And our soldiers always must be diligent in defending themselves from all the number of people that surround them in the war zone trying to kill them.  

The soldiers try to create relationships with the Iraqi people in this war zone only to be betrayed and the enemy brought to their doorstep.

Of course, this film is about one soldier in particular, Chris Kyle, who was a sniper and the best sniper at that; the best in American history.   His job was to save as many American soldiers as possible in picking off the enemy before they could shoot their weapons.  It is kill or be killed.

Throughout the movie we learn what, how and why Chris was motivated to become an "American sniper."  He made more than 160 successful sniper killings.  Chris had to assess the situation and decide in a blink of a moment whether to shoot to kill the young boy holding a grenade, or a young boy struggling to carry a SAM, or the mother or father just walking with their child from one building to another.

Kyle was a phenomenal shot from his time as a child hunting with his father.  He realized he had a gift for sharp shooting and felt it his patriotic duty to serve four tours of duty in Iraq to protect U.S. soldiers in harm's way.

Yes, he had a wife and children he left behind in Texas as he struggled with his conscience over the duty he felt he had to save our soldiers.  Bradley Cooper playing Chris is phenomenal and he should win the Best Actor Academy award for his performance.  It is nuanced, honest and he becomes the character, Chris.

Sienna Miller portrays the wife of Chris Kyle.

Sienna Miller as his wife also gives a phenomenal performance.  She wants her husband back to stay not to return to the U.S. only to return back to Iraq.  We watch her anguish and alarm when Chris is able to phone her literally from the battle field and she hears the shouts, gunfire, grenades, bombs and sounds of the war field. She, too, should win an Academy Award for her performance.

Their relationship together is very touching and loving and shows the struggle both went through during the time Chris was in Iraq and also when he was at home stateside.

In between tours, we see Chris struggle with PTSD, and another different and nuanced performance by Cooper. 

On Chris' fourth tour of duty, he finally is able to take out his nemesis:  the enemy's sniper, an Olympic medal sharpshooter.  From one mile away, Chris is able to take out this enemy sniper and save more lives.  It is the culmination of his time in Iraq.

I can't say enough good things about this film.  I urge everyone to see it as their American duty.  It is a real eye opener to see what our soldiers are going through in our fight to bring democracy to the middle east.  Is it even worth it?  

It was to Chris Kyle who bravely did his duty to save so many U.S. soldiers.  He was a legend in his own time.  When he returned from Iraq for good, he continued to help soldiers but in a different manner.  He bonded with them and helped the wounded warriors by showing them how to sharp shoot.

Ironically and tragically, after surviving four tours of duty in Iraq, Chris was killed by a wounded warrior (probably suffering from PTSD) that he was trying to help.  

The end of the movie shows Chris' funeral and the thousands of U.S. citizens that lined his funeral route to salute such a great American hero.  When the film ended and the credits were scrolling in silence, the theater audience also remained silent and emptied the movie theater in complete silence in respect for Chris Kyle.

May he rest in peace.

The real Kyles