American Sniper (2014)

 

 

 

Director:     Clint Eastwood. 

Starring:     Bradley Cooper (Chris Kyle), Sienna Miller (Taya), Kyle Gallner (Goat-Winston), Cole Konis (Young Chris Kyle), Ben Reed (Wayne Kyle), Elise Robertson (Deby Kyle), Luke Sunshine (Young Jeff Kyle), Troy Vincent (Pastor), Brandon Salgado Telis (Bully), Keir O'Donnell (Jeff Kyle), Marnette Patterson (Sarah).

an American sniper in Iraq becomes famous

 

Spoiler Warning:

The war in Iraq.  A tank moves slowly along a city street watching for snipers.  On the ground the soldiers walk slowly in time with the movement of the tank.  Up on the roof of a building a sniper team is prepared to take out anyone posing a threat to the Americans.  Chris Kyle is the sniper.  He sees an Iraqi placing a call using his cell phone.  Chris is given permission to fire, but the man steps off the balcony.  Now Chris sees and woman and a kid 200 yards out, moving toward the convoy.  He watches her closely and sees her hand over a RKG Russian grenade to the kid.  The kid starts running toward the tank with the grenade.  Chris prepares his shot.

Flashback.  Chris is a young boy who has shot a deer.  He hurries over to see the deer.  He drops his rifle and his father yells at him that he is never to leave his rifle in the dirt.  Chris picks up his rifle.  Dad tells Chris that was one hell of a shot and that Chris is a naturally gifted hunter. 

At the dinner table in Texas, dad tells his two sons don't be a sheep and don't be a wolf, preying on the weak, the sheep.  Rather be a man of a rare breed that lives to confront the wolf.  They are the sheepdog.  He adds that the boys are to protect their family.   Jeff has a black eye and Chris says that a bully was picking on Jeff.  Dad asks Chris if he finished the fight?  Chris did, indeed, walloping the bully in the face numerous times. 

Chris is now a young fellow that rides the unbroken horses in the rodeo.  Chris rides and wins the championship of riding the bucking broncos. Jeff and Chris go over to see Chris's girlfriend Sarah and finds her in bed with another guy.  Chris slugs the guy in the face and throws him out the door.  He then tells Sarah to get her stuff and get out.  Sarah tells him off and walks out the door.  After she's gone, Jeff asks Chris:  "When's the wedding?"

On the television. Chris hears a report on those explosions set to go off at the U.S. embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya.  Clearly they are a part of someone's war against the United States with 80 dead and more than 1,700 injured in two bomb blasts today.  Chris is so mad that he joins the program to become a Navy Seal at age 30.   The drill instructors tease Chris about being as old as Noah from the Bible story. 

Chris meets a pretty girl in a bar who says that she would never marry a seal.  Chris starts to walk away from her, but she stops him, saying she said she would not marry a seal, but she will date one.  Her name is Taya.  He starts going out regularly with Taya. 

Chris is with Taya when the terrorists destroyed the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, New York City, on September 11, 2000.  Taya cries and Chris gets even madder. 

Chris marries Taya.  At the reception, Chris gets the news that they are leaving now on a mission.  His brother, a marine, may eventually be going to Iraq too.

Tour One.  Welcome to Fallujah [a city in the Iraqi province of Al Anbar, located roughly 69 kilometers west of Baghdad on the Euphrates].  The snipers will be paired with a marine to watch their backs.  They will be inserted along the main road to watch over the 1st Marines going door to door.  Their job is to protect the marines at all costs. 

Back to the present.  Chris is in position with his partner Winston ready to fire at a kid carrying a RKG Russian grenade.  Chris fires and kills the boy.  The woman with him now picks up the grenade and Chris fires and kills her too.  Chris is upset about having to kill the boy.  He says he never envisioned this as the way his first hit would go down. 

The next day Chris kills a suicide bomber racing in a car toward the marines.   The car stops.  The bomber's hand falls opens setting off the bomb, but no marines were harmed. 

Chris kills a man trying to plant a Russian grenade in the road.  He kills a fighter trying to cross the street. 

Chris kills so many that the marines start declaring him a living legend. 

Chris's wife calls.  She is very pregnant.  She tells Chris that his brother is heading out to Iraq. 

Zarqawi is the name of a man the snipers really want to kill.  They call him the crown prince of al-Qaeda in Iraq.  His mercenary army, AQI, is 5,000 strong. 

On a slow day for Chris, he decides to go down and help the marines do the house to house searches.  He says he can show the guys some tips.  A man is interrogated and he talks about a man that they call "The Butcher" and the despaired one, son of the Devil.  He also drops the name Zarqawi.  Now Chris is really interested in what else the man might tell them.  The man, a sheik, says if they find "The Butcher", they'll find Zarqawi.  And now the man asks for $100,000 dollars for actual addresses, but now a soldiers reports that first platoon's pinned down.  Chris goes right on with the interrogation process.  Now the man gives up the Butcher's real name.

An enemy sniper now looks for Americans to kill.  Chris is in the back of a vehicle. The sniper kills the American driver and the vehicle smashes into a wall.  Chris was busy talking on the phone to his wife, finding out that the doctor says Taya is going to have a boy.  In the fight that develops, Chris's phone is still on the line with Taya.  She is being traumatized by listening to the sounds of war on the phone. 

The Butcher now has the boy of the sheik.  When the sheik rushes to help his son from being tortured by a drill tool, the sheik is mowed down.   Chris is prevented from delivering some revenge on The Butcher because the enemy sniper keeps him pinned down. 

Three weeks later.  Chris comes home to Taya.  They are so glad to see each other.  Chris just wants to relax at home with his wife.  He does, however, go with his wife for a sonogram of the baby.  The technician decides to test Chris's blood pressure because he said he didn't need to decompress from the war.  His blood pressure is very high at 170/110. 

While driving with Chris, Taya talks to her husband about his high blood pressure.  In the middle of the talk, she starts to have strong contractions.  Chris rushes her back to the hospital.  She is ecstatic when she gets to hold her cleaned up baby.  Of course, Chris is happy too. 

Tour Two.  Chris starts his second tour of Iraq.  As he greets his contact man, he happens to see his brother with lots of other marines getting on a plane.  Chris excuses himself and then goes over and grabs his brother.  Brother says all the guys know about his big brother, Chris, the legend.  So far, so good, but when Chris asks his brother about how he's doing, there are definite signs of big trouble for the marine.  Chris is now worried about his brother.

Chris is told that he is now the most wanted man in Iraq.  There's a bounty of $180,000 dollars on his head.  Chris himself wants to put a direct action squad together to hunt down The Butcher. 

Chris takes his direct action squad to bust into an apartment.  They don' find anyone important,  so they all sit down on the furniture and wait.  Darkness descends on the apartment.  The men think they saw The Butcher go into the restaurant across from the apartment.  Chris tells them they'll wait a while longer to confirm the identification.

The man of the apartment invites the soldiers to dinner.  The soldiers sit down at the table to eat.  After awhile, Chris thinks it's too quiet.  He goes to look around at the other rooms.  He steps on the living room floor and hears a creaking sound.   He pulls three throw rugs off the area.  He sees a big sheet of metal and picks that up.  Under the flooring and rugs is a cache of weapons, including Russian grenades.

Chris returns to the dinner table and grabs the father and bring him over to the weapons cache.  Chris tells the translator to tell the Iraqi man that he has a choice.  He can be placed in detention and be tried by an Iraqi judge.  Or he can get them into the restaurant  The man decides to take the men over to the restaurant.

The two squads take up their positions outside the restaurant door.   The civilian now walks up to the restaurant door.  He knocks at the door.  Chris is acting as the leader, while a sniper watches the restaurant from the apartment.  A huge man opens the door. The sniper kills the man with a shot to the head.  The civilian picks up the dead man's weapon and tries to fire on the soldiers, but the American sniper takes the civilian out.  A grenade is thrown in after the explosion, the Americans pour into the restaurant.  The Americans kill an enemy soldier.  Then they shoot at a man, who escapes  through the back way.  Enemy soldiers now come out of the urban shadows and a big fire-fight develops. 

An enemy takes out the sniper position in the apartment with a rocket propelled grenade.   The Butcher gets into a vehicle and the vehicle starts taking off.  Chris keeps firing at the vehicle until there is a large explosion.  A woman contacts the professional Iraqi sniper and he readies himself for the fight.  Fortunately, the Americans pull out of the area, because the sniper was just about ready to get another kill. 

Chris is back home again. He is with his son waiting for his truck to be fixed at the garage.  A young man introduces himself to Kyle.  He says that they met in Fallujah.  The young fellow adds:  "You saved my life."  He shows Kyle his leg prosthesis.  Chris doesn't recognize the guy and he's a bit nervous about what he can say to the fellow.  The fellow asks Chris to come down to the VA because everyone down there knows about the Legend.  Then he tells Chris's boy that his father is a real hero.  Poor Chris is very uncomfortable about being too highly praised. 

Chris goes to see his baby daughter in the nursery.  He sees and hears her crying and he gets anxious.  He starts knocking on the windows, telling the nurses to tend to his crying daughter.  They pay him no mind and Chris really becomes angry, screaming at the nurses.  He probably still has that problem of  a high blood pressure. 

.He talks with his wife, who complains that even when Chris is physically with her, Chris is still not with her, mentally that is.  She tells Chris:  "If you think this war isn't changing you, you're wrong.  You can only circle the flame for so long,"  He places his daughter in her crib and walks away. 

Third Tour in Iraq.  Chris's friend Biggles gets hit by the Iraqi sniper.  That's the first seal to be hit.  Chris gets to the hospital.  It doesn't look good for Biggles.  Chris says they're going back out.  They eliminate a car load of the enemy.  They start clearing a building.  Another seal, Marc, goes down. Marc is gone. 

Back in the USA, Taya and Chris attend a military funeral for Marc. 

Chris visits Biggles in the hospital.  Biggles tells Chris:  "So they say you're the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history.  Chris doesn't say much, but he does say he's going back to Iraq.

Taya is very upset about Chris going back.  She tells him that his children have no father.  Taya cries and tells him:  "Okay, I need you to be human again.  I need you here."  Chris holds her tight. 

Tour Four.  Chris learns that Biggles has died on the operating table.  The news hurts Chris. 

Chris kills a man preparing to fire a rocket propelled grenade.  A little boy runs over to the man and picks up the RPG.  Chris is virtually praying for the boy to drop the weapon.  At the last second, the boy drops the RPG and runs away.  Chris is so relieved. 

In Sadar City, the engineers building a wall to contain the AQI behind it, but the engineers are being picked off by one single sniper from deep behind the wall.  Chris thinks it must be their sniper, Mustafa.  The seal snipers have the job of eliminating the enemy sniper.  The seals take three armored vehicles to get to the area where the sniper should be.  The snipers go up to the roof of a building and set up their sniper positions. 

Mustafa prepares to take out an engineer.  He hits the engineer in the back as he is standing on a ladder.  Chris shouts out that the shot came from the east, meaning that the seals set up in the wrong direction.  Now they have to reset themselves. 

After Chris resets himself, he says he has a target at 2100 yards out.  He takes a close look and says:  "It's him."  He steadies himself and says this is for Biggles.  He fires and hits Mustafa in the head.  Mission accomplished, but now the enemy is swarming toward the building where the American snipers are at.  The guys are in a tough position.  The enemy get ups onto the building right across the street from where the seals are at.   The seals are taking out enemy after enemy, but they still keep coming. 

Three armored vehicles are rushing to save the day for the seals.  The seals order that their position be bombed.  Chris calls home and tells Taya that he's ready to come home to her and the children.  A huge sand storm now descends over the area.  The seals decide to abandon their position on the roof.  They are also running low on ammunition.  The men slide down a pole to the street and get into the armored vehicles.  Chris gets knocked down by a spray of bullets.  He gets back up and runs to the nearest armored vehicle.  The men pull Chris into the back of the vehicle.   

Back in Texas.  Chris has a drink at a bar.  Taya calls him and learns that her husband went to a bar before coming to see his family.  She is a bit upset and that upsets Chris and he fights back his tears.  He tells her he just needs a minute here.  She asks if he's okay?  He says yes.  Taya tells him to come home because they miss him.  Chris says: "Okay" and hangs up the phone. 

Chris sits in his living room, just staring at the television, while hearing the sounds of war in his head.  And, once again, Taya has to endure a husband who is here, but not really here.   The neighbors are over for a cook-out, but Chris isn't hearing what Taya is asking him.  He sees the dog playing with his son and mistakes the dogs playing with an attack on his son.  He rushes over there and is about to clobber the dog when everyone just gasps in horror.  Chris sees their reactions and stops himself from hitting the dog. 

Chris goes to talk to a psychiatrist at the VA hospital.  The doctor says he got a call from Taya talking about what happened at the barbeque.  He asks Chris if he is worried about his actions?  Chris says no.  The doctor says that Chris was in a war zone for around 1,000 days.  That's a lot of days.  The doctor says that the Navy has credited Chris with over 160 kills.  Is Chris ever regretful over anything he did in the war?   Chris answers:  "Oh, that's not me. No. . . . I was just protecting my guys.  They were trying to kill our soldiers, and, uh, I'm willing to meet my Creator and answer for every shot that I took.  The thing, uh, that haunts me are all the guys that I couldn't save."  The doctor asks Chris, so he would have liked to save more guys?  Chris, says yes.  The doctor remarks:  "You know, you can walk down any hall in  this hospital.  We got plenty of soldiers need saving.''  So the doctor, takes Chris on a tour of the hospital, talking with soldiers that have suffered horrible wounds.  Chris talks with a group of the guys. 

Chris volunteers to monitor the soldiers wanting to shoot at the rifle range. 

Chris runs a farm now.  He even has a white horse on the property.  He plays with his kids and has some fun.  Taya tells him that he's a great father.  She also says it's wonderful to have her husband back. 

Chris is taking out a marine for target practice.  The mother of the marine personally asked Chris to help her son.  He leaves the house to take the marine out shooting.

 

Chris Kyle was killed that day by a veteran he was trying to help.

A big funeral is held for Chris.  People lined the highways and the overpasses to honor Chris.  A memorial ceremony took place at Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, within the Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington metropolitan area and Tarrant County, Texas. Chris Kyle, 1974-2013.

 

 

Damn good movie.  Chris Kyle was an American hero.  He saved the lives of many American marines over in Iraq, taking the lives of over 160 Iraqis.  Chris himself seemed somewhat embarrassed when people referred to him as the Legend.  He didn't want to play the role of the hero.  The film shows how war affects the wives by concentrating on wife Taya Kyle, and how she suffered through Kyle's four tours of duty in Iraq.   The war hurt Kyle mentally, even though he said that it didn't.  He made a mental comeback and was a good father and a good husband.  (I'm sure he probably still had some problems.  I can still remember my father, who fought on Guadalcanal in WWII, telling us kids to never come over to him sleeping on a bed or couch and suddenly wake him, because he might unknowingly hurt us badly, before he got his senses back.  I never forgot that and I don't think I ever woke him up deliberately.  I let him be.)   Anyway, a good movie showing both the good and bad in going off to fight in a war. 

 

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.

 

 

 

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