Getting into a showing of “American Sniper” the night after it debuted was more difficult than trying to find a seat in Hope Dining Hall for dinner. By 8:30 p.m., the line for tickets stretched around the lobby of the Entertainment Cinemas in South County Commons for the 9 o’clock showing.
Without spoiling anything, it was an excellent movie. The story followed Chris Kyle, a Special Forces sniper legend. Some knew him by his other name, “Shaitan Ar-Ramadi” (in English: The Devil of Ramadi), which was given to him while at war by insurgents.
With Clint Eastwood’s directing style and Bradley Cooper’s acting, certain moments in the film felt like “Saving Private Ryan” or “The Hurt Locker”. Each character had a distinct personality that, from the beginning, kept viewers emotionally invested. When the characters were happy, so was the audience, and vice versa.
Unknown to some, “American Sniper” is based off of a true story. However, the movie was not always accurate in its portrayal of Kyle’s life during his four tours in Iraq. If you have yet to see the film, I suggest you stop reading here. If you have seen it, then there are some distinct differences between the movie and the real deal I’d like to point out here.
First, I’d like to highlight the movie version of Kyle. In the film, he is a killing machine but one with a heart. Over the course of the movie, the war visibly takes its toll on Cooper’s character and he becomes a haunted looking individual who shows signs of PTSD at home and on the battlefield.
In his book, though, which the film is based on, Kyle wrote, “I only wish I had killed more.” He also wrote, “I loved what I did. I still do. If circumstances were different – if my family didn’t need me – I’d be back in a heartbeat. I’m not lying or exaggerating to say it was fun. I had the time of my life being a SEAL.” Though he can still be considered an American hero, he was not the emotional person the film portrays him as.
I’d also like to draw attention to how overblown the “Mustafa” situation is. The character Mustafa, a real life Syrian Olympian, acts as a foil to Kyle’s and is a constant threat against the American soldiers stationed overseas. Using his precision with his own rifle to pick troops off one by one then vanishing without a trace. Kyle barely mentions him in the book. However, the film spends a decent amount of time following Kyle in some sort of quest for revenge.
All things considered, “American Sniper” was a top notch movie and it was impeccably directed, casted and filmed. Chris Kyle is known to many as an American hero, and his legacy as “the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History”, according to his autobiography, will surely not be forgotten.