Stars (and Stripes) for American Sniper

Bradley Cooper plays the main character in American Sniper
Photo from Michelle Wright via Flickr under Creative Commons license

Bradley Cooper plays the main character in American Sniper Photo from Michelle Wright via Flickr under Creative Commons license

American Sniper is a film based on the life of the Navy SEALS top sniper Chris Kyle. The movie is packed with action and drama and runs for a length of 2 hours and 14 minutes. The movie is rated R due to the extensive amount of disturbing war violence and use of language. Clint Eastwood directed the movie that was depicted from Chris Kyle’s book American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History. The movie stars Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle, Sienna Miller as Taya Chris’ wife, Luke Grimes as Marc Lee, Jake McDorman as Biggles, and Kyle Gallner as Goat Winston.

American Sniper opens with Chris and his spotter Marc Lee watching over their battalion as they patrol a hostile Afghan village. While searching for possible threats, Chris sees a young boy and his mother step out of a house that is roughly 100 yards from his battalion. Noticing that the pair is acting strangely, he decides to keep an eye on the two; when the mother hands the boy what seems like a grenade. Chris calls it in and is given the okay to shoot if he believes the boy is hostile. Put into an almost impossible position, Chris needs to make a decision to save his troops or kill a boy.

The movie is a good balance of what was happening with Chris in real life and what happened to him in the past. The first flashback is of Chris and his father in a field of their Texas ranch.  A deer is spotted, and then a gunshot goes off, which turns out to be Chris shooting his first buck. Chris and his father assess the buck and the scene ends with some foreshadowing when his father says, “That’s a heck of a shot son. You are going to be a great hunter one day.”

Throughout his four tours, Chris Kyle confirmed 160 kills with his sniper rifle, making it the most in U.S. history. It had also awarded him the nickname “The Legend” among his battalion and even throughout the other military units. Unfortunately while those kills made him popular with his military, he had a bounty put on him for $180,000 if he was killed or captured.

The bounty would not slow him down; he kept doing his job because he wanted to protect his people. Many times when he returned, Chris would be seen disconnected and different. His wife Taya believed it was some sort of post traumatic stress disorder. Chris would reassure her thought that nothing was wrong, and he was fine. Later in the movie he tells how he truly feels and says he is upset about the ones he could not save.

Chris mourns the ones he could not save because he was raised as a “sheep dog.” One night while at dinner, Chris’s father addressed his boys because Chris’ younger brother was being beaten up at school. To defend his brother, Chris stepped in and beat up the kid picking on his brother. Their father told them there are three types of people in the world: the sheep who can’t defend themselves, the coyote who eat the sheep, and the sheep dog who defends the sheep. Before the scene cuts out, the camera zooms in on Chris and his father asks him, “Which one are you?”

Even after his four tours of duty, Chris wanted to serve and help other people who where involved in the war effort. He decided to help veterans cope with post-traumatic stress disorder by talking with them and taking them shooting. It seems like in the movie the veterans looked up to Chris because of who he was and what he had done for their country.

This movie was well directed and the actors allow the audience to become emotionally involved in the film. Bradley Cooper did a excellent job portraying Chris Kyle, and all the actors had great portrayals of their characters as well. This movie is a must see and will makes people feel like true patriots when leaving the theater. This movie receives a nine out of ten from me,—only because the fighting scenes could have been a little better—but overall it is a fantastic movie with plenty of plot twists.