I didn’t really want to – and didn’t really have to – plumb the depths of the Web to discover the negativity surrounding Chris Kyle. Some of it makes for interesting reading but, you know what, does it really matter? Upon retiring from military duty he felt the need to continue trying to saving fellow veterans and to some extent probably helped himself in the process to cope with his own inner demons. Chris Kyle was clearly a patriot and despite what some people might think, there is no shame in patriotism.
American Sniper does not serve as a recruitment vehicle for the American military. It is one man’s story and I think we’ve been here before. A story of how he, as an individual – serving “God and Country” – could help in the “fight against terrorism”. That along the way he became the “most lethal sniper in U.S. history” is, quite frankly neither here nor there. Here is a man with 160 Pentagon confirmed kills and up to 255 unconfirmed kills in total. When considering the numbers, there will be individuals that cannot sit comfortably with such figures. This is an attempt to humanize “Legend” as he was to be known in the field. There is no glorification of his actions.
Clint Eastwood has fashioned a piece of cinema that venerates Chris Kyle. Despite criticisms raised regarding unverified stories recounted by Mr. Kyle verbally and to a lesser extent in his autobiography of the same name, American Sniper is not drawn into such things. Mr. Eastwood clearly does not want to muddy the waters of an American military veteran who wished to serve his country and I get that. Covering the 4 tours Mr. Kyle served in Iraq, Mr. Eastwood juxtaposes them with the family life his wife Taya – played by Sienna Miller – wishes to have. The disconnect that must be experienced by military personal upon returning home is ably shown during those moments.
In all honestly, I don’t really agree that Bradley Cooper is good enough to receive an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Chris Kyle. Personally, I would have nominated Miles Teller for Whiplash, but there you go. That is to take nothing away from his performance. Mr. Cooper does a fine job and clearly undergoes a physical change as well to literally fill the role. There is an overriding sense of calmness, which I suppose fits perfectly with how a sniper must approach his role; level and controlled at all times.
American Sniper will split opinion. As I’ve already mentioned, a quick internet search will give you a clear indication of the negativity levelled at Chris Kyle, but not so much this film. Rotten Tomatoes has it at 73% fresh from some 187 reviews and that’s a good thing! I found American Sniper to be a wholly interesting film and well worth the admission fee.
Thank you for reading 🙂