Clint Eastwood directs another winner with “American Sniper,” based on the true story of Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle.  Bradley Cooper plays Kyle, a natural-born soldier and hero who racked up the most confirmed kills of any American sniper.  Cooper fights a war on two fronts: the Middle East where he takes to combat like a fish to water, killing so many of the enemy and saving countless lives of American soldiers that he earned the nickname Legend; and the home front where, in between his four combat tours, most of his problems emerge (PTSD, keeping to himself and shutting out his wife, feelings of guilt because he’s not in the war killing the enemy and saving his fellow soldiers).  In his quest to do more than his part in the war against terror, he alienates his family, and risks losing them for good.  A hard choice has to be made, or it will be made for him.

And now for my choice of my top three memorable moments of “American Sniper”: third place goes to the scene when Cooper is holding his baby while having a fight with his wife, played by Sienna Miller.  The baby is clearly a doll.  This entire dramatic scene is ruined because of this plastic, rug rat.  Once you notice the doll, it’s all you can concentrate on.  Cooper even tries to give life to the doll by using his finger to move the doll’s arm!  Supposedly, both baby actors weren’t available.  Okay, I get that things don’t always go as planned in filmmaking…but why the hell did Eastwood use angles that would clearly show the baby was a doll!  This is clearly a master f*#k up from a master director.

Second place for my memorable moments of this movie is the scene when Cooper and a few American soldiers were on a rooftop, and Cooper shoots an enemy sniper over a mile away and kills him.  Unfortunately, this gives away the position of the Americans to the terrorists below, who swarm the building and begin to surround the outnumbered Americans who were quickly running out of ammo.

Taking first place for my memorable, movie moments of “American Sniper” is the scene very early in the movie when we see Cooper providing cover for Marines who are doing a sweep of the enemy.  Through his scope, Cooper sees an Iraqi woman and a boy (maybe seven-years-old) come out into the street.  She hands the boy an explosive device, and the boy takes it and runs toward the Marines.  Cooper reluctantly kills the boy, then kills the woman when she picks up the explosive and runs toward the Marines.   This is probably the most powerful moment of this movie, inviting debate over many subjects.  However you feel about this war or any war, keep in mind that according to Chris Kyle, he never killed a child, nor would he ever.  He did kill that woman, but a child was not with her.  I understand children get killed in war all the time; but assigning the death of a child to Kyle for dramatic effect tarnishes Kyle’s heroism and legacy.

Some viewers would see Chris Kyle as a war monger, a racist who would call Iraqis savages.  Based on my research, the “savage” term was used against the terrorists, and not the civilians who were just trying to live out their lives as peacefully as possible.  Some people who watch this movie would think of Chris Kyle as a coward for killing people from a long distance.  To those people, I say do your research.  In real life, Kyle was out in the streets many times risking his life to help Marines who were pinned down and taking fire from the insurgents.

“American Sniper” is a great movie about a patriotic American who risked his life countless times to protect fellow soldiers, Iraqi and Afghan civilians from insurgents.  I know we all have our views on war and killing; and some disagree strongly with why Chris Kyle did what he did.  Forget all that…no one can deny this man’s numerous acts of valor.  For this, Chris Kyle deserves to be respected and remembered.

— M