Having never served in the military, family, friends, and war films are the closest I will ever get to understanding what it is like to live thousands of miles away in war torn areas. How accurate is American Sniper at depicting military life? I will leave that to the men and women who are serving today. What I can say is that I don’t believe there will be another film in 2015 that impacted me the way that American Sniper did.
I have always understood why we go to war. Whether you believe in it or not, it is the way our world works. It is the service men and women of this nation that I will always believe in. They are some of the strongest and bravest people there are in the world. The one thing I will never understand is the emotional toll that war has on someone, the emotional scarring that is left on the soul of a veteran. I will never understand, only because I have never done it. That is one of the beautiful things about American Sniper. Not only do we see the life of Chris Kyle played out from childhood to adulthood, we see the scars he would carry with him his whole life from serving four tours. Watching his demeanor and body language change with each tour helped me begin to understand what war can do to someone. The changes that occur when serving in such a way are nothing short of haunting. No longer does a lawnmower sound like a lawnmower, no longer does a drill sound like a drill, no longer are baggy jackets just jackets. These all become triggers, like a sixth sense that cannot be turned off.
Chris Kyle is played brilliantly by the newly “jacked” Bradley Cooper. Cooper not only looks the part but walks and talks the part, as well. I would be shocked if we don’t see his name in some early award ceremonies this year. Bradley Cooper has been on a recent tear, and after this film, I see no signs of him slowing down. Sienna Miller plays Taya, Chris’s wife. She is tasked with a lot, having to carry the weight of the film for any stateside scene when Kyle is away. She passes with flying colors, as she was able to emote despair, happiness, and strength in a way that felt very real. Taya (Miller) and Chris’s (Cooper) conversations over the phone throughout the film were really the anchors to keep these two vastly different characters connected. They were also some of the most touching scenes in the film.
The action scenes were what really took it to another level for me. Clint Eastwood held nothing back for the R-rated film. Eastwood is easily one of the best filmmakers of my generation. The way he crafted the tense scenes where Kyle has to be the judge, jury, and executioner of so many lives while living with the consequences of those decisions was truly remarkable. The close-up shots of the action mixed with aerials from drones make you feel like you’re there. It keeps you in the action at all times and gives you an idea of the danger these boys are in.
All in all, this is a must-see film for 2015. From the acting to the take home message, this film delivers in spades. One of the most amazing parts of the entire film was watching the audience completely frozen during the end credits refusing to move, and in some cases, breathe during the closing credits. Seeing everyone in that theater pay respects to not just the film or Chris Kyle, but to all the men and women who defend our country every day was truly an amazing experience.