By now, you’ve heard of, read about or even seen the new movie, “American Sniper.” Shattering opening weekend records, the movie left audiences all over the country in silence.
The movie is based on the true story of Chris Kyle and his tours in Iraq as a sniper for the Navy SEALs. It shows the internal and external battle that takes place in a soldier as he goes through war.
I think this movie was nearly flawless. I have never seen a war movie that was so captivating. The director, Clint Eastwood, did a tremendous job of portraying Chris as an American Legend. With his willingness to put his life on the line, protect his men, and honor his country, Chris became one of the greatest snipers in American history. Not only was the movie powerful and emotionally gripping, but the reaction from the people who saw it made the impact even stronger.
When I saw “American Sniper” on opening weekend, we got to the movie a little late (mistake #1) and still insisted on popcorn to accompany the movie (mistake #2). The movie theater ended up being so full that I had to sit on the floor. It was packed. When the movie came to an end and the credits began to show, nobody left. The credits continued, as sniffles could be heard, and still, no one left. Finally, the screen went black, applause broke out and people began to rise. Holding back tears, myself, I walked out of the theater with my family. I had never seen so many grown men wiping away tears as they left. Not ashamed, but proud. Of course, the line up outside the theater for the next showing had already meandered all the way down the hall. I can only imagine what those people thought as they saw tears in the eyes of so many of the people leaving.
When a strongly patriotic, war-based movie comes out, there’s always going to be some people who play the devil’s advocate in criticizing it. We have a free country with freedom of speech so anyone can say or think what they please.
When I first heard criticisms of this movie, I was shocked. I come from a military family, so seeing a movie that honors an amazing man’s legacy makes me proud to be here. I think the misconception is that people think Chris is portrayed as this great American Sniper because he killed so many people. When you look at it from that blunt aspect, it sounds awful to be celebrating someone who did that. This isn’t “Call of Duty,” it’s real people. Real lives gone. But the movie and his legacy aren’t about the lives he took, but the lives he protected. The “good guys” he put his life on the line for. It’s easy to say you’d die for someone until you’re looking down the barrel of a loaded gun. Chris Kyle was willing to look right down that gun and into the eyes of the person holding it. He was courageous. And while there are certainly men who fight for the wrong reasons, men like Chris fight to protect people like you and I who, given the chance, might not be so willing to look down the barrel of that gun.