Friday Flicks: American Sniper

A review of a book to film adaptation.

Based upon the bestselling autobiography, American Sniper chronicles the life and incredible career of the deadliest sniper in American history, Chris Kyle. The film begins with young Chris's father teaching him how to hunt. From that early age, Chris is taught to respect the weapon and to always look out for others in need. An early flashback shows young Chris putting these lessons into practice. He intervenes in a fight between his brother and a bully, earning punishment from the school, respect from his father, and sealing the hero complex that would shape the rest of his life. 

After witnessing the 9/l1 terrorist attacks via his television, Chris, now an adult, immediately enlists in the Navy and begins training to become one of the branch's elite warriors. As a member of the Navy Seals, he is summoned to the field as a sniper. Kyle's mission is to cover areas as other branches of the military complete ground operations. As the film progresses, we witness Chris excelling at his job, racking up a kill rate that earns him the nickname "Legend". 

Director Clint Eastwood does a nice job of mixing the tense action sequences with personal glimpses into Kyle's psyche, especially when he returns home. Bradley Cooper as Chris, and Sienna Miller as his wife show us the raw emotional toll that war takes on both their individual emotions as well as their marriage. In hindsight, a few of the stateside scenes may be overtly cliche, but in the context of the film and the many intense war scenes, these moments are necessary in creating a balanced view of the war. 

Since it's release, there has been much debate about this film. Having read the book upon which this movie is based, I can attest that real life Chris Kyle was much more matter of fact about his actions than Cooper's film version. In the book, Kyle does not seem to be conflicted by the amount of people he kills. It is impossible, of course, to know what was really going on inside the man's head, and I feel that I have no right to comment on his actions. It is worth noting, however, that the film humanizes Kyle in a way that never really happens in the book. As such, the emotional payoff of the movie is extremely high as the credits roll. In the end, the biggest take away from both the book and movie seems to be that war is a big, ugly, complicated mess. Regardless of our individual political or even moral views, our country has asked men and women to leave the comforts of their lives to protect the comforts of our own. American Sniper, is a flawed but important reminder of the sacrifice and heroism of our military.

This entry was posted on Friday, March 20, 2015 and is filed under ,,,,,,,,,,. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response.

Leave a Reply

Powered by Blogger.