American Sniper opens nationwide this week and Sniper’s Hide was given access to an early screening. The movie tells the story of Chris Kyle, US Navy Seal credited with more than 160 kills during his many deployments to Iraq.
There are some things Hollywood does well and there are somethings they don’t. This movie was not a technical manual on sniping, although the rifles are factually accurate. They do take some creative license with the reticles, the sound of the scope (Magnification ring clicks), so they never quite “nail it”. What this story does do very well, is honor Chris Kyle and his service to this country. It also brings attention to the toll multiple deployments will take on a person and their family.
I think Bradley Cooper was the perfect casting for this movie. You need someone with comedic timing to pull off the banter, those quick witted one liners you find with guys like Chris. He also delivers a great performance showing the change emotionally from the opening deployment to Chris’ last tour. The subtle changes are easily conveyed through Bradley Cooper’s performance, you can just see the tension build in his body as the story progresses.
There were several articles about Chris Kyle’s Dad telling Clint Eastwood to respect his son. I believe that was fully met as not a single person stood up when the credits started to roll. The theater was silent until the lights came on, Mission Accomplished. Everyone laughed at the right moments and applauded when Chris dispatched the main antagonist. A packed theater with a diverse audeince, I would not have expected it to be so reverent.
The weapons and equipment used is always a big deal to gun guys. I am here to say Clint Eastwood took the time to get the equipment right. The SEALs use a lot of different rifles and they were all spot on. From the Mk12 to the 300WM, even the GA Precision Gladius had a nice roll to play. Long time Sniper’s Hide members will know the name A.J. Brown. He was responsible for the SEAL rifles and George Gardner of GA Precision provided the GAP Gladius. Sure the reticles were not correct, but it was close enough for government work. None of it takes away from the movie and is part of the entertainment value. I just wish my targets were as big and as close during sniper school.
My main takeaway from the movie was Bradley Cooper and the attention he brings to the emotional toll so many deployments can have. Some only think about the most extreme cases of PTSD. But there are a lot more smaller issues that tend to get ignored which can grow into larger ones. Transition can be hard and people cope in different ways. Chris Kyle understood this, which showed through his work with other Veterans. It’s important we continue to provide support to all our Veterans, short term and long. It’s not enough to just say Thank You for your service.
I really enjoyed the movie, I think others will too. Opening January 16th, American Sniper puts one in the 10 Ring.