Friday, February 13, 2015

American Sniper: Monday, February 9 2015

American Sniper, directed by 84-year-old Clint Eastwood, is surely Eastwood's lifetime crowning achievement. A war film, it neither glorifies or vilifies war, it simply show it as it is. Military people have confirmed that the film is a realistic portrayal of how war is for a sniper, and for the comrades-in-arms he protects. Chris Kyle, with 255 kills, is the deadliest marksman in U.S. military history. He became a legend in his own time, being revered by his fellow military personnel.

The film is based on the book American Sniper: The Autobiography of Most Lethal Sniper in US Military History, written by Chris Kyle, with Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice. The screen play is written by Jason Hall. Bradley Cooper stars as Chris Kyle, and Sienna Miller as his wife, Taya Renae. The acting is superb, and Kyle and Taya seem real people, not actors playing their parts. Superb is the best adjective for everything about this film. Eastwood certainly shows he is the master of his art and craft. Brilliant!

We see the patriotism of Kyle when, as a rodeo cowboy, he reacts to the al-Qaeda 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya. He enlists in the U.S. Navy, becoming a SEAL sniper. The basic training undergone by SEALs is unbelievable. These men really are the finest of the finest. I was overwhelmed by admiration, and gratitude.

September 11, 2001
After the September 11 al-Qaeda attacks on the financial centre in New York, Kyle is sent to Iraq. This is where he gains his reputation as a lethal sniper, and is named Legend by his compatriots. When the men know that the Legend is looking out for them, they feel empowered by this safeguard. The environment these military people find themselves in is dangerous, and sometimes comrades are lost to enemy fire. This takes its toll on those left behind, but also reinforces their determination to succeed in their mission.

These men are heroes of the greatest kind. They are prepared to die for love of their country, and for the freedoms that the United States epitomizes. They see their friends die, yet continue on fighting. I take this personally, as do many others. They are fighting and dying for me. Most people understand why ordinary citizens stop military personnel on the street to thank them for their courage in defending their country and its citizens against attack by evil people. It is understandable to most people why there is an honour guard of their fellow citizens lining the Way of Heroes as these brave men are brought home to a military funeral. In the film, I was deeply touched by the respect shown to the widow by the senior officer who handed her the flag that had draped the coffin of her husband. This demonstrated the understanding by the military of the difficulties endured by the families left behind.

Rarely do I cry in any movie. I am always too aware that the film is a story, and my feelings are being manipulated. While watching American Sniper, I found myself moved to tears many times. I have always been an admirer of the U.S. military, and fully aware that freedom has to be protected by strong military might. To see this being laid out so clearly, touched the depths of my emotions. Clint Eastwood has given the U.S. Military Forces a gift of gratitude. Those of us who understand what the world is really about, join him in his tribute. This film is simple, pragmatic Truth!

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