American Sniper: Something to think about

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Movie Poster for American Sniper, featuring Bradley Cooper.

By Emma Espey, Staff Writer

They’re calling it the movie of the decade. A monumental film. A true directorial achievement.

American Sniper is the story of Chris Kyle, a Texas cowboy turned United States Navy SEAL, who was charged with protecting marines and his fellow SEALS during the Iraq War.

Chris Kyle would become the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history, accumulating 160 confirmed kills out of 255 probable kills. Chris Kyle would save the lives of hundreds and earn the reputation of a legend. Chris Kyle would have 2 beautiful children, a loving wife, and Texas to come home to after completing 4 tours in Iraq. Chris Kyle would fight his personal battles against PTSD even after he was done fighting battles on the other side of the world. Chris Kyle never knew his official kill record. He only ever counted lives he was able to save.

But Chris Kyle isn’t here to tell you this. On February 2nd, 2013, Kyle was shot and killed at a shooting range near Chalk Mountain, Texas while helping a fellow veteran suffering from the aftershocks of war. He was 38 years old.

You may walk away loving it, hating it, or feeling as though something wasn’t quite right.”

It would be easy to say that American Sniper changed my perception of war, and more specifically what it looks like to rebuild and recover after fighting one. But as the credits started rolling and pictures of Chris Kyle holding hands with his two children ran across the screen, there was no easy feeling about what I had just watched. I saw a man that had to take away lives in order to save others. I saw a man distance himself from his family only to call home in what could have been the last moments of his life. And while the movie was exquisite cinematically speaking, there is no way to see this movie and walk away feeling as though you had watched the best movie of the decade. Because of this, American Sniper has managed to receive a lot of criticism ever since its release on January 16th of this year. Some critics claim that Chris Kyle was not the hero he is being made out to be- but just a man who is a sniper that managed to falsify a lot of the situations being glorified in the movie. Other critics ridicule the entire nature of the movie, saying that Chris Kyle, among other U.S. military personnel, were doing the devil’s work. There are those who have seen the movie and walked away completely disgusted.

As you should. This is a movie about a war.

This is a movie about a war and a man that chose to fight in that war. This movie is not meant to be pretty or an awe inspiring tear jerker. This movie was not made to rack up Oscar nominations. This movie is about Chris Kyle and the sacrifices he made, whether or not you believe they were justified.

So no matter your preconceived notions about what kind of man Chris Kyle was, I really urge you to go see this movie. You may walk away loving it, hating it, or feeling as though something wasn’t quite right. But walk away knowing you have the freedom to do so because of men like Chris Kyle.