“War is such an emotional subject, maybe I was a fool to think it wouldn’t.”
I saw the film American Sniper. Let me state a few things before I begin. I am familiar with the story of Chris Kyle but do not know all the details of his story. I have not read his autobiography that this movie was based on. I may at some point but my To Be Read Pile has enough on it already. I have great admiration as a film director for Clint Eastwood. This is probably his best directing work since Gran Torino. Bradley Cooper did a great acting job in this and so did Siena Miller. It was a very good movie that you should see.
I have gone back and forth on how I feel about the Wars of Iraq and Afghanistan. The Post 9/11 title “The War on Terror” which needs an addendum to it. “The War on Terror: There Will Always be Assholes”. I really do not want to go into a political discussion with this movie. I know people who served in both of these conflicts. I have my Questions and Curiosities about their Experience there. However, I know they will not respond because of the fact “I was never there”. I know there is more than one Point of View to a story. This film could be a starting point to a discussion.
If you see this movie, try to put your political views aside for 2 hours and 15 minutes. I have heard the “Political Pundits” from both sides having another one of their “discussion” on this film with their usual screaming matches. When it comes down to it people like Michael Moore and Sarah Palin are basically the same. They are “Agitators” who use Sound Bites to get attention. Neither one of this two or people like them have any ideas (or willingness) to deal with the “Pragmatic” side of the issue they are on the Soap Box about. Plus, neither one of them want a discussion because they need to Stick On Point to their views. They are nothing but Click Bait. So please Don’t Click.
Another point is about the phrase “Based on a True Story” is used to avoid lawsuits. Every film based on a true event uses it. The reason is because they only have so much time to tell the story in movie. It would be impossible to cover everything. So if you need to fill in the details then you have to do some research on your own.
I hate to be using the term “Lone Gunman” here because leads into idea of Crazy Conspiracy Theorists. However, at the moment I cannot come up with one. So please forgive me.
This was an interesting choice of film for Clint Eastwood to direct. Clint Eastwood is the iconic representation of the “Avenging Lone Gunman” from the roles of The Man with No Name and Dirty Harry. Who would later go on to make the movie Unforgiven in which he attempts to Break Down the components of those type of roles. This scene best demonstrates that notion.
It is all right to have a movie looking at the “cost of violence” in a fictional setting or a time long past from here without there being an issue. It is a Safe Mental Distance. However, the same question is being asked here is based on an actual person. Here with have to attached a real name and face to it. It makes us Uneasy and it should. The following is the trailer.
The story of Chris Kyle is also what happens when a person becomes Legendary. He is also a Navy SEAL which carries additional Mythology with it. (See the movie Act of Valor
that was filmed with active duty Navy SEALS) It is also combined with history of events. History is taught with the Bulletin Points of High and Low moments. However, when you start examining the nature of the person involved with those moments then things get to become a bit more Complicated. We begin to see the Strengths and Flaws of that person. Place those against a perceived Legendary status and the Argument begins.
This is not the first time Clint Eastwood has made a movie about how Icons made during war are not what they appear to be. Flags of Our Father . How the story of the men who raised the flag at Iwo Jima story was modified in order to help sell war bonds. The companion movie Letters from Iwo Jima showed the cost of that battle through the narrative of Japanese soldiers. There also a price (right or wrong) that our enemies have too.
Another thing people forget is that film is “Show, Don’t tell” visual style of storytelling. If you want to hear a long speech about the ramifications of the war then skip this movie. Plus, you would never hear a long speech in a Clint Eastwood movie. They rarely if ever are used in War (or Action) movies. The most memorable one was George C. Scott in the Opening of Patton or the Jack Nicholson “You Can’t Handle the Truth” scene from A Few Good Men. (Which is really a court drama movie)
Pay attention to the visuals of the film. Here is a man who has to watch and react to war through the lens of the scope on his rifle. He sees the target and the results of his actions. The metaphor is he sees the war “through a microscope”. There are no Indiscriminate targets for him. They all have a face he sees. As he gains better focus as a sniper the price is he loses Focus on his family. This movie is then how he begins to regain the Balance between the two.
I know this movie is His Story but not the only one. The audience needs to keep this in mind because it is not theirs especially, if they have never been in that Situation of War. This is a story about what we asking Men like Chris Kyle to do and the price to it.
I came upon another opinion on the film from Henry Rollins. (I can agree and disagree with him. Either way he makes me think.)