Sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs

Photo by Keith Bernstein – © 2014 – Warner Bros. Entertainment
Photo by Keith Bernstein – © 2014 – Warner Bros. Entertainment

‘American Sniper’ movie review

By Steven Cayer, Senior Columnist


There are three kinds of people in the new war movie American Sniper: sheep, who are the victims in the crossfire of war; wolves, who are the warlords and enforcers who torture everyone who helps US soldiers; and sheepdogs, who nobly protect the sheep from the wolves.

This movie shines a revealing light on Texan cowboy-turned-Navy SEAL Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper), the most lethal sniper in US history, who enlists when the Twin Towers fall. Before he goes to war, he meets a woman in a bar named Taya (Sienna Miller). They get married, then he leaves for his first tour. What follows is a gritty journey of a man who’s trying to balance protecting his fellow soldiers, being with his family, and surviving the effects of war.

Cooper delivers yet another subtle but amazing performance as the protagonist. His character’s only reason for going to war is to protect his fellow soldiers—nothing religious or political about it. Director Clint Eastwood did a good job not glorifying war as other directors have done. He made us feel bad for the foreign civilians who try to help the Americans. Every shot Kyle takes is a gruelling choice. When soldiers started calling him the Legend as a nickname, he hated it because he was carrying the weight of his decisions around wherever he went.

American Sniper is a visceral, tough experience to sit through, but it’s still an extremely important movie that’s one of my favourites of the year.