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American Sniper

Jonathan Hinshaw - Monday, January 19, 2015

Sniper is the true story of Chris Kyle, starring Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook, The Hangover), Kyle Gallner (Nightmare on Elm Street-2014, Haunting in Connecticut), and Sienna Miller (Stardust, Foxcatcher).  Directed by Clint Eastwood, it is a real war movie, not just focused on the explosions (although there are a lot), but also dealing with the emotion side of battle.  Chris is a Navy Seal who joins up right after 9/11.  He was a Texas cowboy, riding broncos in small town rodeos before he decides to get serious about life.  Navy Seals are a tough group who bond in battle, they go in and clear out towns and villages, often spending weeks out in the field, cut off from support and connection to the outside world.  In many cases they cannot talk about where they are, or what they are doing, makes it hard on the families who are living state-side.  

Chris marries Sienna Miller right out of boot camp, gets deployed almost immediately.  He serves 4 tours, almost 1000 days in the desert.  We watch him take his first shot and his last, Bradley plays the emotional side really well.  Sienna is left at home to raise two small children, the Navy Seals really connect with their team members, makes it hard to come back.  We watch Bradley assume more command as each tour develops, he soon is working with Marines going door to door clearing out a town.  In that town they discover the identity of a guy called the Butcher, direct link to Ossama.  He is their main target, all out hunt for him ensues.  

One opportunity is that by now Chris has gotten a reputation, he is called the Legend.  Turns out he has more confirmed kills (167) than any other sniper ever.  The insurgents have put a $180,000 price on his head, so he is hunted by snipers from the dark side.  We also get to see the longest confirmed kill, 2100 yards.  Over a mile away.  Chris pulls down a sniper who was killing our guys, but in doing so he opens up a hornets nest, his team is soon surrounded by bad guys with lots of guns and ammo.  It was dramatic.  

We enjoyed the movie, be warned, it is a real war movie.  Guys get shot in the face, some is really tough to watch.  At one point Bradley is working with soldiers who have returned from Iraq.  Some are missing limbs, will be facing years of surgery, not for the weak.  When Chris returns home, it turns out he is not able to leave the war behind after all.  

When the movie ends, there is silence, then the applause started.  When was the last time you heard clapping at the end of a movie.  Doesn't happen often, this was a great movie.  Over $90 million opening weekend, set all kinds of records.  We give it 4 tours of Iraq!


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