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Monday, February 9, 2015

American Sniper: Movie Review

Today, I saw the critically-acclaimed war movie, American Sniper, directed by Clint Eastwood. To date, it remains the 3rd highest grossing film of 2014, and the highest grossing war film in North America(Source: Wikipedia). Those who like war movies won't be disappointed.

The movie begins with his family as a young boy. The family is portrayed as being rather conservative and "religious." The years go by, and Chris [Bradley Cooper] is making his living as a cowboy in Texas until the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings. He then enlisted in the U.S. Navy as a Navy Seal. He undergoes rigorous training, eventually becoming a U.S. Navy SEAL sniper.

After the attacks of 9/11, he is sent to the Middle East (Iraq). His first kills were of a woman and of a young boy. He was considerably shaken by that experience, but earns the nickname "Legend" for his many sniper kills (160 recorded/255 probable).
Chris sees much savagery among the Iraqis, not only towards the Americans, but towards each other. With each kill and with each barbarous event he is witnessing, it pangs him and he is in constant anguish. He can't help but to bring it home with him. War-it is not a happy sight, nor is it an easy thing to forget.
In the movie, there are many gruesome depictions of soldiers and insurgents being shot and killed, as well some bloody torture scenes. I have seen war movies before, but this was in the category of it-being-too-real-to-be-a-movie.
Despite his respite from each Tour of Duty, he had trouble readjusting to civilian life. He had simply changed. His family suffered as a result of his absence during each Tour and even more so when he came home. He was in denial that he was being affected by the countless atrocities that he witnessed while being over in the Middle East. He ends up serving 4 Tours of Duty before retiring.
He finally comes to terms when telling a VA psychiatrist that he is "haunted by all the guys he couldn't save." The psychiatrist recommends that he should help "save" the surviving veterans back here at home.

In 2013, Chris and his family have moved back to Texas. The family life has drastically improved. Chris has improved. In his time, he gives back by helping veterans, like himself.
One day, when he was out on the local gun range, he and his friend were killed by the veteran he was trying to help. The movie ends with stock footage of the funeral motorcade.

The themes in this movie are God, family, brother-hood, war, torture, PTSD, guilt, military life, choice, life, death.   

All in all, I'd rate the movie a solid B+. If it wasn't for the incessant swearing and a few scenes with provocative innuendo, it would've been A+. The movie is rated -R- and certainly is not for kids.

I really enjoyed the movie overall. Just block out all the sub-par story lines and you have an all-American movie.

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