|Eastwood and Cooper on set|
'American Sniper' has grossed over $252 million since it opening on Christmas Day and the numbers keep growing. It is by far the most successful military film ever exhibited. The story-line (just in case you have been in a coma over the last several weeks) centers around a real-life sniper who served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars - Chris Kyle. The movie is based upon Kyle's best selling autobiography of the same name, in which he recounts his military career and experience - the film rights to the book were purchased by Clint Eastwood, who directed the movie. It stars Bradley Cooper as Kyle.
Kyle was a highly decorated Navy Seal who was awarded two Silver Stars, five Bronze Stars, two Purple Hearts, and a slue of other accommodations and was officially credited with 160 sniper kills with an unconfirmed total of 255.
But why has this film become so popular. My feeling is that this film puts modern warfare in perspective - which is impersonal and distant. The film depicts Kyle doing his sniper work while talking to his wife on the phone - bizarre but not, I'm told, unrealistic with today's technology. Kyle, unfortunately, was killed at a Texas shooting range in 2013 by Eddie Routh, an ex-Marine Kyle had befriended. No reason has been put forth for the killing but Routh is scheduled to go to trial this February.
|Kyle with his bio. and in action|
I believe the day of the lone sniper is over. Technology in the form of drones and computerized long-range rifles where only coordinates and wind speed data are required and the weapon does the rest with pinpoint accuracy is already here. In the world of new warfare, a Chris Kyle simply wouldn't be required. Waging war has become extremely complex but, paradoxically, requires fewer and fewer people to wage. The U.S. doesn't need to win wars just engage.
If you enjoy war movies with a message 'American Sniper' is for you.