By Arooj Khalid
LAHORE, Pakistan – With six Oscar nominations, American Sniper – directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Bradley Cooper – recounts the story of Chris Kyle, a celebrated sniper known for his accuracy and skill during the war in Iraq.
One might mistake it for an action-filled army movie where there’s more weaponry, tanks and military strategy than anything else.
Although American Sniper is not totally devoid of military action, it is strictly based on Kyle’s life as a sniper.
The film focuses only on his personal, professional and social affairs.
The movie opens with Kyle positioned on a rooftop, his sniper rifle aiming at a boy who is about to throw a grenade at an American tank, making up his mind whether to shoot or not.
Then the movie takes a turn and we are led to Kyle’s early life.
His father teaches him to hunt at a young age and we get glimpses of his childhood, adolescence and youth as a cowboy in Texas.
Kyle then enrolls in the military and, while in training, meets his future wife, Taya (Sienna Miller). Soon after their wedding, he is sent off to the war in Iraq, launched in 2003.
With the precision of his aim and the extraordinary number of lives he saves in the war, Kyle soon becomes known as “The Legend.”
In his four tours of duty in Iraq, he is credited with more than 160 confirmed kills – including, in the end, the most dangerous sniper the terrorists’ possess.
Returning home for good, Kyle faces difficulties reconnecting to his family and taking his mind off the war. He has to deal with the death of two of his closest military comrades as well. Kyle meets many veterans of the war who are grateful to him for saving their lives.
After he retires, he reconnects with his children and wife, but the war still haunts him. He talks to the veterans and takes to helping and spending time with them.
In the end, he is killed by a veteran he tried to assist.
In short, the movie is a simple observation of the life of an American military legend, though it provides a much wider glance at the affairs and lifestyle of soldiers.
In the movie, Kyle tells his therapist that it is the number of people he didn't save that haunts him, not the ones he killed.
American Sniper is primarily a patriotic movie about the “greatest” sniper in American history.
I would recommend it to someone who is looking for a biographical documentary about an American hero, but I suppose if it was about my own country, it would mean something.
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