As the weather forecast predicted it was dark and rainy day today. Since my husband wanted to see American Sniper we went to see the movie at the nearby multiplex. The theater was packed with people. Unlike many other recent films we saw its audience demographic consisted of more older men than women. Usually matinees are dominated by older folks probably because they are more cost conscious (the matinee shows cost slightly less).
The film started in the usual media-res format: Chris Kyle, performed by almost unrecognizably bulked-up Bradley Cooper, was about to shoot a young Iraqi boy who was told to take a rocket-shaped grenade by his mother. This taut scene quickly cuts to a flash-back of the American sniper’s childhood hunting experience. This scene reminded me (and perhaps others) of short stories written by Earnest Hemingway, thus connecting Kyle’s narrative to the very American brand of masculinity. His childhood memory was most certainly inserted into the narrative of American Sniper in Post-9-11 Iraq war to explain the moral justification of the sniper’s military job: Chris kills dangerous people who are about to kill his fellow soldiers. As his father demanded in Kyle household, the boys had to grow up to be sheep dogs that protect sheep from bad wolves.
The first 20 minutes of the film did not really strike me as promising due to its workman-like editing that almost revealed the way the film sequences were shot, but gradually it became more interesting because it communicated how it was like to fight in Iraq in the early 2000s.
To sum, the film reminded me of a few superior films that dealt with American military conflicts in recent years, such as Black Hawk Down, The Hurt Locker, and Zero Dark Thirty. But, American Sniper was the most “patriotic” and American.