This isn’t a film about war. This isn’t really even a film about a sniper. This is a film about obsession.
“God. Family. Country.”
The motto that acclaimed Navy Seal Marksman, Chris Kyle (played by Bradley Cooper) lives by. ‘The Legend’ is the nickname he was given, having racked up 160 kills during his tours in Iraq, with that total rumoured to have surpassed 250 in total.
The film begins with Kyle lying in the dust, flat on his stomach with his eye down his lens lining up his target. A woman and child. With bated breath we are left to wonder whether or not he will pull the trigger as we are taken on a trip down memory lane with a flashback to Kyle’s childhood.
During this time we learn of his relationship with his brother, his father’s explanation of the three different types of people; sheep, wolves and sheepdogs. We are flung forward in time, experiencing Kyle’s failed relationship while undertaking a rodeo career, his enlistment in the Seals following a terrorist attack and the introduction of Taya (Sienna Miller’s character), Chris’ girlfriend, soon turned wife.
Suddenly we are back on that rooftop. We exhale. The trigger is pulled. It is only then that we realise what has just happened, Taya’s voice echoing in our heads. “Do you ever worry about when there’s a human being on the other end?” Chris Kyle’s first ever kill in the field of battle was a mere child. A child who more than likely didn’t have any clue of the impact of what he was about to do. A child with his whole life before him. It puts it into perspective of the horrific choices that these men have to make in a split second. Life or death. Do or die.
This film takes us in to the very depths of the life of a soldier. From their experiences on the front line, to the struggles they face when they land back on home soil. We experience their PTSD first hand and we see how those experiences affect those they love most.
There has been a lot of controversy in the story of Chris Kyle. It is put in to question whether he ultimately enjoyed killing. It is certainly made to look that way in the film. His record as ‘The Most Lethal Sniper in US History’ suggests so. But for me, I think he was simply a man obsessed. Obsessed with saving thousands of lives. Obsessed with the one man who always seemed to evade him at every corner. And that obsession changed him.
Now by no means am I going to tell you how this film ends. I’m not that mean, and I feel that it is something that you should read up on yourself. But I will tell you this. The obsession that Chris Kyle goes through, the horrors he sees and the way it affected him. Thousands of soldiers worldwide are going through the same thing right at this very minute. They are struggling with the decisions that they had to make, and continue to make, in a hostile situation.
I want to take this moment to say thanks. We are forever indebted to those who have given up their lives to keep us safe, and those who are still out there fighting for justice. We salute you.