‘American Sniper’ is a sobering look at the toll taken on our soldiers

American Sniper is the story of Chris Kyle, the most deadly sniper in American Military History. It is loosely based on a book on the New York Times Best Seller list by the same name. I went into American Sniper not knowing what to expect. I left mostly satisfied and thankful for the men and women that risk their lives for us daily in such terrible circumstances.

American Sniper stars Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook) as Chris Kyle, a sniper from Texas who, after seeing terrorism reports on the news, joined the armed forces to defend our country.  He is a man of noble intention who does what others cannot or will not do. For the most part I thought Bradley Cooper was great in this film. Physically and mentally I bought him as a soldier. He was both physically imposing and noble, something that I’m sure is not easy to portray. His wife Taya was equally well acted by Sienna Miller (Stardust) as she dates, falls in love with, and marries a U.S. Navy Seal, along with all the baggage that entails. This movie, though offering some fantastic battle scenes, is much more about the toll war takes on a soldier and their family. Though these scenes were, in my opinion, the weakest part of the movie, the theme of PTSD and its effect were well understood.

Where this film shines, perhaps not surprisingly, is in each of four military tours in Iraq. As his tours progress, the mythos surrounding Chris “The Legend” Kyle continues to grow while his personal life struggles. We see up close and personal the terrifying and unpredictable nature of urban warfare where death lurks around every corner, and it is not glamorous. I did appreciate this dose of heartbreaking realism as characters you come to care for are taken away in a matter of seconds. How difficult it must be to go on in such dire circumstances.

This is a good movie. It has solid action, good action, and brings to light an important issue and appreciation for those in military service. I felt that the addition of the fictional sniper battle between Kyle and Mustafu, though cool, was unnecessary. There is enough suspense in the war that our soldiers are facing without an enemy named the butcher who kills people with a drill. I have seen better, more impactful retellings of true events. That being said: If you have family in the military or have ever lost someone to war, this movie will likely move you and make you thankful for their sacrifices. I myself left this movie thankful for the men and women that protect us daily and welcome of the reminder of their sacrifice.

Parents. Though a story of great heroism, the realistic nature of the film may make you want to think twice before bringing your kids along with you. There is a lot of language and a lot of violence. For a more substantial breakdown of the content check out the links below.

What did you think about American Sniper? Let us know in the comments below.

Bryce Cooley
I've been doing some form of ministry since 2000. For 13 years I was involved in the youth ministry at Cordova Neighborhood Church as everything from youth intern to youth pastor. God has led me and my lovely wife Bethany to Church of the Foothills where I currently reside as the Digital Publishing Coordinator. I'm excited to see where God leads my wife and I.