Monday, January 19, 2015

CW Movie Review: American Sniper

It really isn't hard to see why much of the liberal elite who control mainstream media haven't warmed to "American Sniper".  Chris Kyle was a patriot.  He was from Texas.  He did not have advanced degrees.  He appeared to (dear God) dip snuff.  He apparently believed in the causes for which he was fighting; he certainly believed in the general goodness and rectitude of his country.  These are not beliefs commonly shared among the liberal elite, and their tepid response to the movie bespeaks their uneasiness with the concept of good men believing in good fights.

The hullabaloo over remarks by Seth Rogen and Michael Moore in the past few days have served to degrade what was for me a reasonable question going into this film:  should a man who shoots at people from concealment be lionized?  I thought a good bit about this, and even had a chat with the Kitten.  The concept of kills numbering in the hundreds was numbing to me, but I felt that if they were in support of combat operations, they were easier to swallow than if they were dominated by assassination style "hits" of unarmed people.  To the extent that the movie dramatized the sniper aspect of his work, it appears his contribution was of the former variety, rather than that latter, and so I can now join in without reservation with those who consider the man a flat-out American hero.

Is this movie pro-war?  Not from where I was sitting.  It was pro Chris Kyle, that's for sure, but it told his story through the lens of a war that was horrific, closely fought, and very, very bloody.  It also showed (aided by Bradley Cooper's superb performance) the toll such a war can take upon its combatants.  And their families.  Kyle's wife (played by Sienna Miller in what SHOULD have been an Oscar nominated performance) was right there with him as he appeared to decline in his ability to return to civilian life after each subsequent tour in Iraq.

I have only two quibbles with the movie.  The first happened when Kyle was at an auto repair shop back home with his son.  He is approached by a man who identifies himself as a former Marine, whose life Kyle saved in Iraq.  Over-scripted and over-acted, this scene ended with the standard "salute in civilian clothes" that we see repeated over, and over, and over again in movies.  For some reason, it bothers me.  The handshake, or the manhug even, work better in real life.

The second is the degree to which SOF operations are dramatized as "on the fly" missions without a lot of planning and intel.  The SEALS and other SOF are famous for their planning, and while clearly some considerations have to be made for movie-making, I wonder how often such "on the fly" missions were actually attempted, and I wonder what actual SEALS think about the way they were portrayed.

At the end of the movie, in a scene I read about being repeated across the country, no one moved. No one said anything.  Lots and lots of sniffles.  This is a powerful, well acted, movie and a gripping story.  Worth the time and money to see.

1 comment:

Russell McLachlan said...

Having gone through the book, I didn't think it glorified his killings at all. I didn't count the kills in the movie, but when you consider the conservative estimates of more than 250 kills (confirmed and unconfirmed), it actually played a minor part of the film. The emotion and character required to endure war was the focus.

The media will warm up to it...because it's going to playing in theaters for a LONG time. Amazing film.

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