Movie review: American Sniper

The movie American Sniper is based on the true life events of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. American Sniper is directed by Clint Eastwood and the lead role of Chris Kyle is played by Bradley Cooper, where as Sienna Miller played the role of his wife Taya Renae Kyle. Kyle is proclaimed to be one of the most lethal snipers in U.S. military history, having accumulated 160 confirmed kills and almost 100 more unverified ones. During his duty in Iraq, he was conferred with the sobriquet “The Legend”.

The film portrays Kyle as a martyr and a person unburdened by conscience. When Seal Marc Lees mother reads a letter at his funeral doubting the American military mission, Kyle said that it is not the bullet that killed his friend, but rather it was the words from “that letter”. Kyle comes across as a person with remarkable moral clarity. There is a scene at the beginning of the movie where Kyle hesitates to shoot a woman and a small boy who were preparing to throw an antitank grenade at a convoy of marines, the Valley News reports.

In the movie Kyle is the overwatch who is stationed at the rooftop to protect the fighters on the ground. His character plays a similar role to the Brad Pitt’s character in the movie Fury, where Brad, a surrogate father keeps an eye on his children though a sniper rifle. In the movie, Kyle’s wife says to him, “It’s pretty egotistical to think you can protect us all”, where as Kyle’s friend always wonders about his “saviour complex”.

The movie is more about the action than questions of moral and psychological nuance. The main two action scenes are one when Kyle hunts a brutal lieutenant of al-Qaida leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, known as the “butcher of Fallujah”. The second is when he kills a Syrian-born sniper and former Olympic sharpshooter named Mustafa whose kill record mocks that of Kyle’s.

The battle scenes are very intense, especially the one pictured during a massive sand storm. Here Kyle and his unit are cornered by the enemy while they wait to be rescued. Kyle at one point in the movie mentions that he wanted to be a cowboy bringing in the western flavour to the movie.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE