American Sniper seen through the eyes of JB
As a kid I was a good shot with a bow and arrow and later with an air rifle, as children once did, I played at soldiers. Today computers, games consoles and realistic graphics have taken over from childish imagination. As an adult my playing became all too real as an infantry soldier, coincidently also trained in Sniping with the L42 7.62mm bolt action rifle. Having recently seen one of my favourite war films on freeview movies4men, “The Odd Angry Shot”, about a couple of Australian Special Air Service soldiers on a tour of Vietnam in the 1960’s I thought I would see for myself what all the fuss was about “American Sniper”. As one who likes a good War Film I can’t say I would recommend this film as such but it did get me thinking about Gulf War Part 2 or OP TELIC, to give it its British Operational name and the once more delayed Chilton Report. American Sniper is based on the autobiographical book of the short life of Chris Kyle. In the film we see him as a child learning to shoot deer with his father, like Vassili Zaitsev shooting at the wolf with his grandfather in the Stalingrad Sniper film dual “Enemy at the Gates”. After seeing the Twin Towers destroyed by Saudi Terrorists, Kyle a 30 year old Rodeo Cowboy joins the United States Marine Corps and becomes a Sniper. On the rifle range he can’t seem to hit the target but can kill a snake next to it because as he says to the instructor it’s alive, (or was it breathing), I wondered why? After basic training we see him on tours of Iraq. While other Marines patrol the streets below, he lies on a roof top with a “Spotter” doing “Top Cover”. Deliberating over killing a man using a mobile phone, the “Spotter” reminds him he could end up in Leavenworth, the US Military Prison, if he gets it wrong, I wondered how many did? We see him shoot dead a child and the child’s mother, who are about to attack an M1 Abram’s Tank and a heavily armed squad of Marines with a single RKG-3M Anti-tank hand grenade. I wondered why a mother would do such a thing but this is explained later as the local population are all “Savages”. His compassionate side is shown as he doesn’t kill another child who picks up an RPG7 Anti- Tank rocket launcher only because its to heavy and the child drops it before Kyle, The American Sniper, has to decide whether to shoot or not. In between kills or while the Iraqis try to kill him he calls home on a satellite phone. Carrying a bible he becomes the “Legend” for his ability to kill men, women and children, who he determines are a risk to other marines he watches over while they patrol the streets. In between killings in Iraq the film shows some of the tensions of family life back home in America. For his killing skill the enemy but a price is put on his head and a sort of “Enemy at the Gates” duel with an enemy Sniper, armed with a 7.62mm Dragunov rifle, accurate at best to 800m. While see the enemy sniper shooting a few Americans, the body count mounts up on the enemy’s side. Every Iraqi who helps the Americans seems to end up dead by other Iraqi “savages”, while the American Liberators are shown kicking in the doors to Iraqi homes. Maybe I’m being to simplistic but I left the cinema wondering who exactly the savages were?