Name: American Sniper
Director: Clint Eastwood
Genre: War, Adventure, Acton, Historical Drama
Text Type: Film
The film ‘American Sniper’ is a biographical war film directed by Clint Eastwood and written by Jayson Hall, released on January 15th 2015. The film is loosely linked to the autobiography “American Sniper”, a story about the most lethal sniper in American history. The film is about Chris Kyle, the protagonist, served in the Iraq war in the mid-2000s. The film goes over how this has affected his relationships and himself mentally suffering from PTSD.
The film “American Sniper” is relevant today because it gives us an insight into the war and the mind of the most infamous sniper in American history. Giving us the idea of what it would’ve been like for Chris Kyle, killing men, women and even children to save his men. And attempting to adjust to normal civilian suffering from PTSD
The idea of Machismo has forced onto the Navy Seals which Chris Kyle is a part of. The navy seals have a firm set of rules and instructions of how men should behave inside a warzone and around the base. From this, he takes this ideology and pushes it onto new men who join the seals. Machismo is more than just how to act in the military, it is a survival mechanism that is used by himself and his fellow seals, this code serves as a bond between everyone and can maintain the soldier’s sanity during the most violent engagements. In a revealing scene when Chris Kyle went to a medical research facility to get a blood test, he learns that his heart rate and blood pressure drop when in stressful situations (exactly the opposite of what a normal person does). Therefore Machismo must teach Kyle to relax and keep calm in extremely stressful situations to the point of even enjoying them. Ultimately this hurts him mentally and emotionally and alienates him from his loved ones because his enjoyment towards violence and pain is a part of his everyday life.
Chris Kyle suffers from extreme trauma. The opening scene to the film is set in the midst of the invasion of Iraq, Chris Kyle is stationed atop of a building overwatching his convoy of men the high angle shot which is used to show how much more powerful he is. He is more powerful because he is stationed back overwatching everything prepared to shoot anything that could be a threat to himself or his men, then his sights turn to a woman and a child leaving a building, the woman hands the child an explosive device and he rushes towards the convoy Chris is watching, he shoots the child, then the mother who attempts to throw the grenade at the convoy. The first sign of trauma is straight after when the camera gives us a mid shot with dark lighting to set the tone of loss and grief. The shot is of him and his spotter atop of a roof, this shows the spotter hyped and pushing Chris, Christ responds with “get off me!” This dialogue shows that he is mentally hurt from taking the life of a woman and a child regardless of their actions or intentions.
In war there are no winners, Chris Was ready for war but he was not ready for the loss of friends who he loved like brother this causes life-changing trauma, a scene that shows his loss is when he is on the phone with his wife (Taya Kyle), she is pregnant with his child the scene is taken in the living room with a mid-shot, you can see an empty baby cradle, this symbolises the emptiness she feels without Chris to care for her, this seriously hurts their relationship later in the movie. Another scene that shows how mentally broken Chris is. He gets to a point where he feels like he is as replaceable as almost anything. In a scene with his wife he says that “if he dies that she can find a new husband in no time” this dialogue shows how broken Chis feels, this also shows how he feels about his life, he believes that he is just another statistic just another man. This hurts Taya to hear him say this.
Something that stood out to me in this film was the realism of it, and that it all was based on real-life events, from the guns used to the most gruesome scenes. Also, the racism throughout the film can link back to real life where people assume someone worse than them just because of where they come from.
The message I got out of ‘American Sniper’ was the understanding of what war can do to a person, physically and mentally, a good percentage of war veterans suffer from PTSD in some way or another, this primarily comes from direct combat Chris Kyle, for example, has done and seen things that would turn the average person’s stomach. This film also showed me how all governments and populations need to do their best to reconnect them with society and give them all the respect and support they deserve.