I just saw the movie, “American Sniper,” yesterday and I thought that it was a very powerful film. Many war movies fail at capturing the full reality of war but I believe this movie has thoroughly accomplished that objective. Yes, the battle scenes were still action packed yet it revealed the emotional toll that these battles take on soldiers, specifically Chris Kyle. In one scene, it was Chris’ first time on the battlefield as a sniper and he was overlooking his convoy. He sees a woman handing a bomb to her kid while approaching the convoy, so he was forced to take them out. His buddy then said, “That was a gnarly kill!” but Chris did not celebrate what he just did. He understood that he had to make the shot but was sad at the situation. In another tour, he was again overlooking fellow soldiers and after he killed a guy with an RPG he sees a kid try to pick it up. He was ready to shoot the kid but was hoping he would run away. When the kid eventually ran away, Chris sighed and almost cried. Many shots were taking its toll on him but he was willing to protect his men from harm at any cost.
Between tours, Chris would return home to his wife and kids. He would never talk about the war but one day he told his wife what bothers him most is that over there, people are dying and at home everyone is on their cell phones oblivious to what is really happening. That is possibly some insight into why veterans have such a difficult time adjusting back to civilian life. Also, many like Chris return and become paranoid about certain noises and instances. In one instance, Chris noticed his dog being rough with his kid and he almost punched the dog. He did seem lost sometimes during this period which was partly the reason why he kept going back to war. He was a great sniper and felt that his presence saved countless American lives.
Chris went on four tours and accrued around 130 kills. In the last few scenes, he really wanted to keep helping his fellow soldiers so he hung out with some wounded veterans. They would go shooting at the range as some type of therapy. Chris would do this to a fault because one such veteran would kill him in a shooting spree at the range. Chris died, trying to save his fellow soldiers at any cost even outside the battlefield, which makes him a true “sheepdog” so to speak. It’s a very sad situation but maybe this movie and his story will open people’s eyes that there needs to be more conversation about helping veterans get acclimated back to civilian life. Some veterans may need more rigorous psychological therapy upon return.