By Chris Gil
Clint Eastwood is commonly referenced to as an immense talent in the film industry of the United States. With recognizable roles in films such as “Unforgiven”,” Million Dollar Baby” and “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly”, Clint Eastwood earns his credibility as an actor. Eastwood’s career as a director is even more successful awarding him all four of his Oscar wins. Thus it is no surprise that his latest film, “American Sniper”, has been earning top box office numbers, has been nominated for six Oscars and has even stirred up controversy.
The film depicts the life of Chris Kyle, or as he’s better known “the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history”. With one hundred and sixty confirmed kills out of two hundred and twenty-five probable kills, Chris Kyle is a true American hero who single handedly saved the lives of numerous combat soldiers in the Iraq war. For his efforts Kyle received two Silver Star Medals, five Bronze Star Medals, one Navy and Marine Corps Commendation medal, two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals as well as numerous other unit and personal awards. Kyle served four tours in Iraq between 2001-2009. On February 2nd 2013, Kyle was tragically murdered by a fellow former veteran who Kyle was trying to help overcome the struggles of adjusting to life away from the battle field.
While the life of Chris Kyle may have ended tragically, the film American Sniper does an amazing job celebrating the life of Kyle with excellent acting from main star Bradley Cooper. Cooper was heavily involved in the role both emotionally and physically as he gained nearly forty pounds of muscle to truly feel like Kyle. In an interview with NPR, Cooper was asked about the weight gain and had the following to say,
“It wasn’t at all like a costume. It was like … this sort of transformative experience to me because there was no going home from it. It was a gradual change that then became my daily life until I started to shed him after we stopped shooting, which actually didn’t happen for three or four weeks.
And I remember waking up one morning and knowing that he was gone and I just knew it. He was just gone from me. … I could just feel it — that he wasn’t there.”
Such involved acting, as well as immense directing from Eastwood provided the feel of a true American hero struggling not only with war but with the transition back into civilian life. While it’s true the film may glorify the U.S. a bit too much, it does not overshadow the true meaning; our soldiers are constantly struggling to keep us safe, they sacrifice their entire lives for the wellbeing of our country as a whole and we must provide them with our understanding and support.
Even though the film had such a positive message, leftist celebrities such as Michael Moore and Seth Rogen criticized the film for over glorifying the life of Chris Kyle and ultimately called Kyle a coward for being a sniper. Moore has been quoted via his twitter as saying “My uncle killed by sniper in WW2. We were taught snipers were cowards. Will shoot the back. Snipers aren’t heroes. And invaders r worse”. While it was difficult to depict precisely Moore was trying to say due to his elementary vocabulary and lack of grammar, his message is clear; snipers are cowards. Meanwhile Seth Rogen had the following to say, “American Sniper kind of reminds me of the movie that’s showing in the third act of Inglorious Bastards”. Rogen is referring to a film which involves merciless killing of various people. What Rogen may not have realized is that American Sniper is based solely on personal accounts and the autobiography of Chris Kyle. Furthermore the family and friends of Chris Kyle were involved in the film creation process and gave their seals of approval. Rogen later apologized.
Even with the controversy surrounding American Sniper, the film is an excellent display of cinematic talent and great story telling. It is receiving tons of praise and has already received critical acclaim. American Sniper is on par with other acclaimed military action-thrillers like Black Hawk Down or The Hurt Locker. If suspenseful action or dramatic insight into the mental burdens put on modern servicemen and women is what you crave, then definitely catch this amazing film in the theaters.