American Sniper – A battle fought on two fronts

posted May 25, 2015, 7:47 AM by Bruce Gaughran   [ updated May 25, 2015, 7:48 AM ]

Saturday I watched "American Sniper." I wanted to see the film for several reasons.

Since I read the book a couple of years ago, I needed to see what direction Clint Eastwood, the director and producer, took the film. I am

a big fan of Eastwood’s directing style and vision. His ability to subtly introduce and marry in subplots to a major storyline always amazes me. He didn’t disappoint me.

I also heard how well Bradley Cooper portrayed Chris Kyle, and I needed to see it for myself. Again, I was not disappointed. I believed Cooper was Kyle. I also believed Sienna Miller was Chris’ wife, Taya.

Of course, like most films, there were certain liberties to make the story more interesting. When the movie first introduced these liberties, I searched my memories of the book and couldn’t recall them. By the end of the movie, I wondered what else was added, condensed or distorted to make the story more interesting and tense.

I thought the backstory was well done. It helped explain why Kyle felt the way he did. The subplot element of the hell Taya Kyle went through during Chris’ four tours and after his return was one of the strongest points driven home. Too often the focus is on the warrior and his/her survival. Eastwood did a wonderful job of showing Taya’s world … the good, the bad and the ugly. (Sorry about the reference to one of Eastwood’s earlier films, but it seemed appropriate)

In many ways, American Sniper was the antithesis of "Unbroken." That being said, I feel it is also a synonym for what happens to those of us who are placed into situations where we have no control. Chris, Taya and their children, like so many families separated because of the war deserve more than our thanks. They deserve our understanding and our support.

On this special day, let us never forget all those who have given their lives, or lost loved ones, in service to our country.

Photo: IMG_0973a by Schick