Tag Archives: Clint Eastwood

“AMERICAN SNIPER” Review (✫✫✫1/2)

And hero, husband, and father.

Chris Kyle was an American sniper. Serving four tours in Iraq, with 160 confirmed kills and approximately 95 more unconfirmed, Kyle earned the title of being called the most lethal sniper in American history. More than being a soldier, though, he’s a father, a husband, and a friend. He was killed in 2013 at age 38. He was shot by a soldier suffering from PTSD that he was trying to help.

We know all these details going into Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper. We already know how it ends, we just don’t know everything leading up to it. Eastwood understands this, and uses it to his advantage as his film not only gives an honorable tribute to one of America’s most committed soldiers, but also foreshadows to a sad fate that we already know is coming. Gee, thanks a lot Clint. I didn’t even bring my tissues.

The film opens on the same startling scene that the book does: with Kyle looking down the scope of his sniper rifle at an Iraqi mother and her child, both of whom were aiming to suicide bomb a battalion of soldiers on the street. Eastwood sets up the tension of the scene perfectly here, with Kyle’s sweaty, darting eyes surveying the scene and desperately trying to see any way out of the tormenting choice he has to make. He soon dreadfully realizes there is no way out: it’s either the mother and her child, or the 15 soldiers and the suffering of their families back at home.

Think about being given that situation, about how devastating the experience must be and how haunting it must be to the person who has to make it. Now imagine having to make that same choice day, after day, after day, with your numbers climbing up until you’ve reached over 250 kills.

That’s the life of a soldier that Kyle has lived.

Kyle is portrayed in the film by Bradley Cooper, and both Cooper and Eastwood do a wonderful job representing Kyle here. They show that before he was a soldier, he was a citizen, an American with strong ideals and opinions and unafraid to show them or fight for them. Before he was shipped out and went on tour, they showed how normal Kyle was.

They showed that before he was a soldier, he was a man.

After having to make those difficult decisions day after day, how do you think that affects a man? In interviews, the real-life Kyle has said that he would not take back a single shot because every one that he took was to defend his brothers in uniform. I believe him when he says that, but I don’t believe that it didn’t leave an impact on him. Some soldiers suffer PTSD from killing just one man. How do you think more than 200 may have impacted Kyle?

Both Eastwood and Cooper do a great job humanizing Kyle here, and show that he’s more than the record kills he’s garnered. They show that Kyle is a man of coarse humor and blunt honesty, a man with a thick Texan accent and ideals, a man who tries to show that he’s strong and dependable, but who deep down is hurting and alone. The film is intimate in the ways that it shows Kyle, both in the chaos of battle and in the quietness of being home.

Cooper especially does a skillful job in portraying the iconic war hero. He expresses trauma and subtlety with the character so masterfully that the only differences I can tell between him and Kyle are minor facial features.

This movie has stirred controversy as of late for being “pro-war,” and for glorifying a man who was essentially labeled a murderer. I’m convinced these same people haven’t seen the same movie I saw, because the movie I watched unabashedly looks at the miseries of war and how the deaths Kyle could and couldn’t prevent affected him. The movie does suffer some slight pacing issues (not to mention the infamous “fake baby” seen in one of the shots), but when Eastwood resurrects a war hero to show the man behind the legacy, how can you look at this movie’s scope and not feel something for all of the physical and moral sacrifices Kyle had to give for his home? When the trumpet plays proudly over the solemnity in the end credits, you know that Eastwood represented a warrior in heart and a human in spirit.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

For The Man Who Died So I Could Write This.

Chris Kyle was not a murderer. He was a hero.

The military sniper’s story came under fire last week after Clint Eastwood’s biographical war drama American Sniper was released in theaters. Critics have called it many things, many of which I am not fond of. Some have called it pro-war. Others have called it “bigoted.” Filmmakers Michael Moore and Seth Rogan also fired shots at the film, with Rogan comparing the film to the Nazi propaganda seen in the third act of Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds.

Coming from the guy who almost blew America up with his controversial film The Interview, which fantasized about killing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, I can’t say I care much for his opinion.

Since the conversation sparked intense debate over the nation, Moore and Rogan has since redacted their statements, apologizing and claiming they were taken out of context. Their supporters, however, have not silenced themselves, and continue to persist saying that the film is a dishonest piece of propaganda that glorifies a murderer that shot and killed not only Iraqi men, but also women and children during the Iraq war.

It’s important to note, both sides have merit to their opinions. Both sides have their perspectives, and both have evidence to back up their claims.

The critics have claimed that Kyle was not as remorseful in real-life as he was depicted in the movie. That he felt no shame in killing Iraqi men, women and children, and would probably kill more if he needed to. This is supported by the fact that he used very blunt descriptions and vocabulary in his book, with one sentence reading “I hate the damn savages.”

He’s been confirmed as the most lethal sniper in American history with an estimated 255 kills, 160 of them being confirmed by the Pentagon. His first few pages in the book opens on him shooting a child and his mother. There is no fighting the horrible things he’s done in Iraq: Kyle has described the events himself in text.

At the same time though, the supporters of Kyle’s story have equal leverage on their perspectives. He felt no remorse with his kills because he was always shooting in defense of his brothers in uniform. The woman and her child that he shot were both going to blow up a convoy with a hidden grenade, which blew up shortly after they dropped it. The many seemingly-innocent Iraqi’s after that were also visibly going to initiate violence against the military, whether they were picking up a bomb, or aiming an RPG.

If you’re focused on how many kills he’s made, think also about how many lives he’s saved. He shot an estimated 255 enemy kills in Iraq. If each one was going to attack a group of military soldiers, how many fathers do you think were able to go home because of him?

We have a much bigger issue at hand here than just who is right. Our culture is so quick to attack and criticize our military, when they’re the ones fighting so that we can have the right to attack and criticize. In the midst of moral ambiguity and political correctness, men and women are on the other side of the world fighting and dying for our rights. Their last concern is being politically correct. Freedom isn’t free.

So if you want to criticize Kyle or the book and movie, American Sniper, be my guest. But understand that Kyle shot from the barrel and died from the barrel so you could have that right.

– David Dunn

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,