Tom Basham

American Sniper

In This Just OUT on January 24, 2015 at 1:17 pm

American_sniper-posterI saw “American Sniper” today, but I don’t think he saw me. It’s only right for this movie to be directed by The Outlaw Josey Wales (Clint Eastwood from “Gran Torino“), another guy who just wanted to be a cowboy.

Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper from “American Hustle“) liked horses and girls and belt buckles so big that a girl would like him. They grow ’em like that in Texas. When terrorists hit our embassies, he enlisted in the Marines. He became a Navy Seal and, yeah, a sniper. Just before he ships out, he marries the love of his life, Taya (Sienna Miller from “Foxcatcher“). She is an amazing reason for him to come home, but he almost never comes home.

This didn’t feel like a movie with a plot and a protagonist trying to win the day. We had an observation post that let us witness a little piece of the life of a sniper, this American Sniper. There were no winners here. The movie could be called Tour of Duty because he has four tours and his duty to his country and his men come first. A life with his family will have to wait, because the men who count on him cannot. “There’s a war going on and I am going to the mall,” he tells Taya when she doesn’t understand his inability to engage her at home.

I didn’t see any politics in the movie, or anything that glorified the process or the practice of this country sending our men and women to war. I saw men taking orders and dying in the process. The ones who came home breathing lost parts of their bodies and minds over there and will never be the people they were before

We see how Chris Kyle was the Tom Brady of snipers. The guy every soldier wanted on his team watching his back. What Eastwood and Cooper also show us is how Kyle carried this burden on his broad shoulders as his tough guy façade took so many shots it started to crack.

Everything about this movie rings true, and I saw nothing that was pumped up by a pounding score to create tension or shaky cameras to convey shaky situations. Where a Spielberg may try to create an epic, Eastwood focuses his lens on the man, the legend, Chris Kyle. In him, we see the essence of man and his allegiance to God, Corps, Country and family, and watch him figure out what order these things should be in. It’s an incredible story, and Eastwood does not try to explain it or tell us what to think about it. I would say unflinching, but I flinched about 50 times.

This movie will get to you, and stay with you. It’s not a feel good movie, or a “rah–rah to victory” movie. It’s a movie that will bother you. Nothing that Chris Kyle ever did bothered me. He did it because that was his job and his calling and the way he was made. What happened after that bothers me, the way it bothered Josey Wales. For that reason I must give this movie 4 ½ stars out of 5. When they make my life story, I want Bradley Cooper to play me, but they will probably cast Larry David.

Tom Basham is an indie filmmaker. Here is a link to his movie review site:


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