“American Sniper” Great American Story

By: Rachel Haywood

Editor in Chief

Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper” was released into theaters nationwide on January 16. The film starring Bradley Cooper as real-life Navy SEAL, Chris Kyle, pulled in an astonishing $107 million in its opening weekend. Preceding the creation of this movie, Kyle wrote about his four tours to Iraq and his experiences as a sharpshooter in his own book by the same name.

Many critics have already released reviews of the film, and now it is my turn. I will say that I am seldom disappointed by any piece of film, and “American Sniper” is no exception. I usually do not gravitate towards scary or violent movies, but after researching the film and its creation, I was immediately fascinated by the compelling story line and purpose.

“American Sniper,” based on a true story, follows Chris Kyle from his younger cowboy rodeo days to his adult days as the deadliest sniper in U.S. Navy history. During Kyle’s four tours to Iraq, he had 160 kills to his name, and a price on his forehead. Anyone with that level of skill was considered a dangerous threat to Iraqi insurgents. Kyle worked to find the bad guys, all while the bad guys worked to find him. Along with his incredible service record and numerous military honors, Kyle received the name “Legend.”

While on a mission to carry out the duties of a U.S. soldier, Kyle also tackled married life and fatherhood. Kyle met his wife Taya, played by Sienna Miller, while training for the Special Forces, and they soon married and raised two children. Balancing his home life with his military life became quite the challenge for Kyle. He exuded such a confidence and intensity in his work that it followed him home. Some would say that it was the onset of PTSD, but Kyle denied those ideals. He kept deploying to Iraq because he felt that he still had a mission to complete and he wanted to serve his country. After four tours of duty, the decorated sniper returned home for the final time.

As previously mentioned, I am quite impressed with many of today’s cinematic performances. At one point, considerably early in the film, I forgot that Bradley Cooper was playing a part, and representing Chris Kyle, the Navy SEAL. I felt like I was watching Kyle and his family tell their own story. The physical resemblance between Bradley Cooper and Chris Kyle or even Sienna Miller and Taya Kyle is uncanny. Both actors do an amazing job of portraying their characters. Maybe it was the format of the film, but I could not keep my eyes off of the action. The story is well written, and it shows that director Clint Eastwood and the production staff worked hard to create a riveting piece of film.

This is some of Bradley Cooper’s best work, and it’s hard to ignore. Before this movie was made, Ms. Kyle opened up to Cooper about what her family’s life was really like. Kyle had already passed, and she was a vital resource in the creation of this film. I strongly believe that along with Kyle’s wife, Cooper and Miller really brought this film to life. “American Sniper” is the movie that immortalizes a great soldier. I’ve seen war movies before, and this particular movie tells a great American story.

On February 2, 2013, Chris Kyle was killed by a fellow veteran who was believed to be suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Read the whole story here. http://abcnews.go.com/US/seal-chris-kyle-allegedly-killed-marine/story?id=18389238

4.5/5 stars

“American Sniper” is rated R for strong and disturbing war violence, and language throughout including some sexual references.

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