Let me start by stating this obvious, this is not light hearted fare in the least. I can't even say I enjoyed the film, even though it was an incredible movie. American Sniper is based upon Navy Seal, Chris Kyle's autobiography of the same name. Director, Clint Eastwood, has crafted a gritty, raw, amazing, inspiring, gut-wrenching, and heartbreaking film.
The story moves back and forth between Kyle's 4 tours of duty during the Iraq War and his home front experiences. The movie is unapologetic in its depiction of the toll the war took on Chris, his wife, his family, and various other war veterans.
Chris Kyle is credited with 160 confirmed kills in Iraq and at one point, his VA therapist asks if that figure bothers him, to which he confidently replies he feels not only at regarding his service, but that he could meet his maker with a clear conscience that each and every kill was one he could account for as being justified. His one regret was not being able to save more of his fellow servicemen. Still, it was made clear Kyle was deeply affected by his war experience. No glorification of war here, and that is fine by me. War is not glorious or desirable, but it very often is a necessity. Men like Chris Kyle are a necessity.
Wingnut and I have discussed at length our puzzlement and admiration for men, like Kyle, who live so courageously and sacrifice so much for love of God, family, and country. I've thought long and hard about what is it that goes into making such a man? It is apparent not many men are made in the mold of Chris Kyle or Marcus Luttrell. I thank God for men like Kyle, who are willing to make the decisions and sacrifices needed to save the lives of their comrades and to complete the mission set before them by our leaders.
An interesting thing I noticed throughout the movie was that it was unscored. The only music was at the very end and played only during actual footage and photos from Chris Kyle's life and funeral. There was also no music scored for the credits. It left the theater eerily and respectfully silent, and the entire audience exited the theater without uttering a single word. I've read elsewhere of many other viewers having the same experience at the end of the film. It really was a lovely and brilliant touch by Eastwood.
Bradley Cooper was also absolutely stunning as Chris Kyle. He put in a truly Oscar worthy performance and I am extremely impressed by him.
I do have one criticism of the movie that I really haven't been able to get past. While I understand the use of foul, rough language on the battlefield and among our active duty on the front line military personnel, I was extremely disappointed with the depiction of Kyle's wife as being nearly equally foul mouthed as her husband. True to life of no, I would never want to see myself portrayed that way, even if I were played by the gorgeous Sienna Miller. I don't know, wouldn't you rather be given the benefit of being portrayed as a lady? I'm not saying Taya didn't have it rough, and did not have the right to be angry, frustrated, and heartbroken at what the war did to her husband, but did she really have to have such a potty mouth? It was a huge distraction for me and I felt like it made her come across too much of a spoiled brat, which I'm sure she is not. She sacrificed so much being married to a Navy Seal during a time of war. I felt she deserved more respect than she was given.
Due to pervasive profanity, adult content, and frequent battle violence, I would recommend this movie to adults only. Catholic News Service rating--AIII; adults only.