Wednesday night I was honored to be given tickets to the movie premier of American Sniper here in San Antonio. I went with three friends from Sparks Firearms. Steve Sparks donated money to the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation and got us reserved seats!
Spoiler alert/bottom line, the movie is worth seeing. Go see it. I was really wondering about how this was going to be. It was nothing like I expected.
I had previous thoughts about what it would look like but, and all three were nothing to do with what actually was. I heard Fox News saying people are complaining that it was “Republican Propaganda” but there were no politics involved. The only thing close could have been when Chris and his wife watch the news reports of 9/11 happening and the planes crashing into the buildings. No politicians were ever shown or mentioned by name in the movie. Nor were any foreign policies named or talked about. If anything, there is a time in the movie where things go wrong, people die and his team gets side-lined by politics. That was during the time the Republicans had the majority everywhere.
I also thought the movie was either going to betray him as a bigger than life hero that never made mistakes, killed all the bad guys and saved all the good guys, or a broken man that was crying to his family all the time. Nope, it told of his triumphs and failures. And when you see the movie, you’ll see that even the best in the world has horrible failures. In the game of war, failure means people die, lots of people.
I was also worried that it was going to show a girly version of him that only talked about his feelings with his wife. That’s not the real world. You don’t become that good at the game of killing and not have it affect your family and home. But it also affects the man that gets that good and those affects go home from the battlefield. Separating them is a farce. Men that do that well in battle aren’t the touchy feely kind generally.
The movie premier started out with an ad for Kryptek Camo and so I thought the movie would be like anything else, but it was a military ad and kind of fun to see. The guy with the logo tattooed on his arm was a little much.
Then this message came on and got us in the mood for the movie.
It was a good way to start the movie…
The opening scene is Kyle behind a rifle doing over watch for a patrol of Marines and a tank going through a city in Iraq. He watches a couple of things and then sees a mother and her son come out far in front of the patrol. He watches her hand the son a stick grenade and then shows the son running at the patrol with it and raises it over his head… Then flashes back to his childhood and his life growing up. It goes fast, but shows how and why he joined the Navy and then how he met his wife. Not the most flattering of meetings for her, but fun to watch and probably pretty close to how a lot of military guys met their wives.
It shows them together watching the news reports of 9/11 and then jumps to his first deployment. Most of the movie is about his four deployments in Iraq and how he was trying to adjust coming back. If you’ve been there, you’ll relate to many things he did and a lot of the things they show in the movie.
The movie shows how Iraq really was. It shows how evil people can really be and how the really motivated in the military were trying to stop evil. You can also see the many times it goes wrong for him and his teams and how bad the aftermath is of those events. When people you have around you die, it sucks. Even people you just met and they invited you into their lives. I personally know how bad that feels.
The movie also shows the other half. His wife was ready to leave him multiple times because he just couldn’t make the adjustment back to the real world. He almost kills his dog because it was playing with the kid too rough. But if you watch the movie you kind of understand his reaction when you know the whole story. To people in the civilian world, we wouldn’t think there was any problem with the kid and dog playing.
In his fourth tour he gets injured and has to come home. It takes him a while but the interview they show between him and a psychologist is worth seeing the entire movie for. How one idea he was given by that psychologist changed his life, gave him purpose, gave him his family back, and created everything that continues today.
If you want to understand what our military is going through in the current “War on Terror,” go see the movie and know that his deployments were not that bad. He succeeded in his missions and most things went well for him and his team. For others, the missions went further south and they saw and did things that no one should have to endure.