American Sniper in a Nutshell

Damn. American Sniper was one of the most engrossing war movies I’ve watched in a long while. I also had no clue going in that it was based off the life of renowned sniper Chris Kyle. I haven’t seen many of the other Oscar worthy movies this year, but Clint Eastwood has done himself a fine job with this one and deserves a nomination at the least. I’ll try not to get too spoilery even though this is based off true events, but here we go. This movie follows the life of Chris Kyle, played by Bradley Cooper, and how he rose to legendary status as America’s deadliest sniper. We start off seeing how he grew up in Texas and how his father had a stern upbringing for his family. There was an analogy his dad used saying there were three types of people in this world; there’s the sheep, wolf, and the sheep dog. Being the older brother, Chris took on the mantle of the sheep dog whose personality trait was to protect those who needed it. As we see Chris grow up, he gets tired of going through the same cowboy routine; which leads him to enlist in the SEAL’s. Before he goes on his first tour, he meets his future wife Taya (Sienna Miller). Shortly after the 9/11 attacks was when his tours of duty would start. This is where the character development of his truly shines; and it’s also what I thought was the best aspect of the movie. For his first kill he has a moment of hesitation because he’s aiming at a kid who has a grenade in his hand. As an audience, we get the understanding of the struggle he’s going through on whether to shoot or not. Throughout his military career, Chris would go on four tours; and after each tour we can see the PTSD change how he reacts at home. After his first return, everything is still seemingly normal. Taya is pregnant and he is able to see the birth of his son. However, even by the time he has to leave for his second tour, we already see him becoming distant.  By the end of his second tour he starts to gain a name as “The Legend”; and by the end of his career, it turns out there was a bounty on his head from the opposing forces. I haven’t read up on how much of this was true vs. hollywood, but having an equally lethal sniper on the other side seemed crazy. Not crazy bad, but just what are the odds that they would basically be squaring off throughout his career. I’m just really caught up with how well Clint, Bradley, and the whole crew of American Sniper captured the effects of PTSD and the career soldiers. At one point it seemed like his whole life was war and when he was home that was foreign to him. From a lawn mower, to a van trailing too close, to the sounds of an auto-shop, anything could really set him off. Then to show the struggle it took for him to come back down to Earth and to his family was real sweet. Besides the well written story, all the other aspects of this movie were well done. Pacing was timely, lack of music made it feel real, and editing was precise. There’s just so much more I think I could go into about this movie, but I shall leave it to you to find out and form your own opinion. Hopefully my own hype for this movie doesn’t ruin it for you.

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