Adam Enz –
The final scene cuts to black, and as credits start to roll, the most noticeable thing at the end of American Sniper is the lack of music.
At the showing I went to, a somber attitude forced what I can only describe as respectful silence over the audience. The quiet held as the theater slowly emptied, and it all began to remind me more of a visitation than blockbuster.
There are many different speculations clouding the reception of this movie. Is it pro-war or anti-war? Is it an accurate portrayal or is it factually flawed? Should we see Chris Kyle (played by a barely recognizable Bradley Cooper) as a hero or a puppet? And are we really supposed to believe that piece of plastic is a real baby?!?
But there is one thing that becomes painfully (and I mean real distress here) clear while watching the hero begin to build his legacy as the most deadly sniper in American history, and that is there were real people on the other end of his scope. Chris Kyle knew that, and as the film carries on you do not just see him struggling to create peace in a war zone, you see him searching to find peace within his own life, as well as in the fledgling family he has back home.
If you go into American Sniper expecting a tragic story of a man twisted by PTSD, you will definitely leave with your money’s worth, but you may or may not be pleasantly surprised to also see action packed shootouts that will more than please the Call of Duty fans who go to see the movie hoping it fulfills its namesake.
American Sniper, like a great many Oscar nominated movies, ignores chronological order at the beginning. The first thing we see is Chris hidden on a dilapidated rooftop keenly watching over a convoy of soldiers as they enter into a seemly deserted and run-down city scape. Chris is quickly faced with a hard decision. He notices a woman and child walk out into the open, and the women hands, what is possibly a bomb, to the small child. The decision is left to Chris to either shoot the possibly dangerous child or risk the lives of dozens of American soldiers.
Before we get to see his choice the movie rewinds back to Chris’s childhood. Here we get to see how he become the man behind the scope, what made him tick.
We learn that Chris always felt strongly about protecting his family. Something we see as he beats up the rather large child who was beating up his younger brother. Jump forward 20 years and Chris, living the “life of a cowboy”, watches a TV showing the infamous terrorists attack on September 11, 2001. We are lead to assume this over protective feeling is why he decides to join the Marines. After a few more minutes of watching Chris sign up and then being shaped into a soldier we see him meet and court his wife (well played by Sienna Miller).
Right after their marriage Chris gets the message he is being deployed, and before you know it you are back to the scene that started the movie, but now you realize that Chris is no killer yet.
For the rest of the film we watch how from that very first rooftop decision, Chris becomes the deadliest sniper in American history. Along the way he fights not only an enemy sniper know as Mustafa, but battle his obsession over what he sees as trying to save American lives.
I really recommend this film to anyone (like me) unaware of the Chris Kyle story. Enjoy the film for now and worry about the politics later. It would be horrible to let bias distract from this highly entertaining movie.
Adam E. Enz, from South Jacksonville, Illinois is a sophomore majoring in Communication and Women & Gender Studies. Adam is the Photo Editor for the Rambler. Adam has enjoyed running for IC Cross Country the last few years as well as working for the IC Archives.