When it comes to true story films, there are times where film-makers try to add more or less into what really happened in the event being told. In this case, Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper has already contracted not only positive acclaim but a stir of negativity and controversy that surrounds the way Kyle was really like in life. Some say he had lost his mind in the war for peace while others say he was caught up in the emotional aftermath after service but Eastwood has stated that his film is “the biggest anti-war statement any film can make,” and said that “the fact of what war does to the family and the people who have to go back into civilian life like Chris Kyle did”
Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) is a Texan lad who grows up and takes up the Texan way of life and aspires to be a cowboy. Kyle and his brother are brought up in a household where his father mans a tight ship. Into his thirties Kyle seeks into a deeper meaning into his life. He enlists himself with the US military as a Navy SEAL and is soon decorated for his 4 tours in Iraq accumulating 160 confirmed kills which earns him the nickname “Legend” amongst his fellow SEALs. American Sniper unfolds the story of Kyle from the moment he fires his first shot up until that moment he is honorably discharged from the US military. The question that hangs over our head is will he be able to leave his days of the battlefield behind.
The controversy that surrounds it, it can make the film an exaggerated lie or truth to what Kyle was like in reality, but again it is showing what war can do on people on the front-line and home. The film is being used as an excellent example in character, plot structure, and theme in film classes. The movie was overall, excellent. The story was told in such a way that the viewer can see both perspectives. Perhaps a lone wolf fighting for his country while holding together his home life by threads appealed to you. Perhaps you are strongly against war, and this story speaks to, that maybe America has become Chris Kyle. In the first ten minutes, young Kyle’s father speaks: “There are three types of people in this world. There are sheep and sheep dogs. While we are not sheep, lord help you if you are the wolf”. Chris thought of himself as the sheepdog, but some may say he transformed into the wolf. Has America transformed into the wolf? So, I don’t understand why people against the war would hate on this movie, because the message and debate it presents is clear.
Bradley Cooper is an inch-perfect Kyle, delivering an understated performance. As he slips into the derangement of post-traumatic stress, his demeanor remains largely unchanged, apart from his eyes, his stillness and his silence, as all he has been through continues to infect him. Eastwood’s sharp direction brings an entire culture, political system and military ethos under the microscope, as well as the mental and physical damage to individuals and to family life.
American Sniper gets an 8.0/10.