Wounded Marine: Why American Sniper’s Chris Kyle Was a Real Hero

22 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Driven by ambition.

But back home following his four tours of Iraq, the Navy SEAL – whose 2012 autobiography, American Sniper, is the basis for director Clint Eastwood’s Oscar-nominated film of the same name starring Bradley Cooper – struggled with the after-effects of war. Hollywood was shocked when last weekend ended and Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper, a film about Chris Kyle — described everywhere as “the most lethal sniper in American military history” — not only was the top-grossing film in the country but took in over $100 million, the kind of number we ordinarily associate with superheroes or teenage girls fighting for their lives.For Rabin Godfrey, the USA country manager for Grupo Autofin Mexico, finding people who are eager to buy into the company’s philosophy has been the biggest challenge during the company’s U.S. expansion.WASHINGTON—Clint Eastwood’s hit film “American Sniper” has reignited a bitter debate about the US invasion of Iraq and one of its most famous warriors, with conservatives hailing the movie as a long overdue tribute to veterans. My typical routine for viewing a movie I’ll be reviewing is to do my best to avoid any pre-release discussion, trailers or articles, in an attempt to keep the experience pure, cluttered with as little baggage as possible.

Before his death in 2013, Kyle – who was fatally shot on a Texas gun range at age 38 while trying to help a veteran allegedly suffering from PTSD – believed passionately in raising awareness for veterans’ causes. But bringing people along to make money the Imperio way has been a little tougher. “In any company, the toughest thing is people,” Godfrey said. “We are doing well so far.

Now, with the massive box-office success of American Sniper, his mission is reaching more people than ever. “For any warrior who is struggling mentally, or even the families who go see this film, if they see, ‘Wow, if a guy like Chris Kyle could struggle and get help, then I need to do it also; he was so full of pride but he felt like he couldn’t fight these demons on his own’ – then I think this movie might push a warrior or at the family of a warrior away from the edge,” says Jacob Schick, a retired Marine who appears in Sniper as a wounded vet. I haven’t seen the film, so I don’t have any opinion about its content (though this lengthy IMDB summary explains the plot scene-by-scene if you’re interested). Schick lost most of his right leg below the knee as well as part of his left hand and arm in a 2004 IED attack and was close with the Kyle family before being cast in the film. But let’s accept that at least some of people who went to see American Sniper over the weekend chose that film because they perceived it as a patriotic act.

He hopes audiences will take away a deeper understanding of the struggles facing veterans after they return home. “I want them to see how challenging it is when these warriors come home and have to transition into the civilian sector and try and not be what they were overseas,” he says. “It is extremely challenging.” “We got this story from a therapist who saw six of his patients who are shut-ins – guys who won’t go outside because they have PTSD – at the theater seeing the movie,” he says. “To know that these guys are making it outside for this and to know that it’s opening up their world is just beyond profound.” Another woman sent Hall a message explaining that ever since her husband returned home from Vietnam, “he’s never talked about it and its been really challenging, and on the way home from your movie, he started talking about it.” Says Hall: “The most beautiful part of all of this is that a lot of people are seeing what they want to see with this movie, but these soldiers and the people who have been affected by war in this way are seeing what we intended for them to see. What we can say for sure is that professional conservatives are now very excited about American Sniper, and their analysis of it (see here or here) tends to be mostly about liberals — why they allegedly hate the movie, why they dishonor Chris Kyle, and why going to see it would be a great way for right-thinking Americans to tick them off.

The company wants its customers, many of whom are Latinos with modest salaries looking for more affordable vehicles, to get the same treatment as those who visit the dealerships for premium brands. Actor Seth Rogen, whose recent movie “The Interview” provoked fury from North Korea and a cyberattack on Sony Pictures, said “American Sniper” reminded him of the Nazi propaganda movie that appears at the end of Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds.” Conservatives and a slew of celebrities quickly shot back at Moore and Rogen on social media, with former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin castigating “Hollywood leftists.” “It presents a very sanitized picture of what the occupation of Iraq was like and the nature of the Iraqi resistance,” he told Agence France-Presse.

Meanwhile, Mike Huckabee, who it seems will be basing his presidential campaign on making himself the tribune of those burning with conservative cultural resentment, is out criticizing Beyoncé for dancing suggestively and singing lyrics that amount to “mental poison.” Few things are more edifying than politicians telling us what music we should be listening to or movies we should see. The unavoidable baggage: I tend to like Eastwood’s directorial efforts (“Unforgiven” is a classic), and Cooper has established himself as a considerable talent (“Silver Linings Playbook” is his best). Imperio stresses the little things that often make a big difference with customers, like eye contact, friendliness, smiling, good grooming and remembering names. My review of the film – “not quite on target” read the newspaper headline; “Cooper wrangles moral ambiguity in uneven portrait of U.S. soldier” the headline on the web reads – was middling to positive.

Paul Rieckhoff, an Iraq war veteran and head of the Iraq Afghanistan Veterans of America, said the movie reflected how many soldiers thought about the war. “Kyle, much like many I served with, and our president himself during most of the Iraq War, held a very black-and-white view of the conflict. But if we pretend that our heroes are superheroes—creatures without the characteristics that make us truly human—we find ourselves starved for real-life inspiration. I kept thinking about “The Hurt Locker” while I watched “Sniper,” and I liked the 2009 film better (it went on to win the best picture Oscar). To me, that’s just insanity.” But the group will soon be launching a new credit company soon that will allow people living in the United States to get financing in the U.S. using Mexico-based assets held by family members as collateral.

In addition to the two dealerships on Camino Capistrano that opened this summer – a Kia and a Nissan – the group in October opened Imperio Nissan dealerships in Irvine and Garden Grove, hoping to capitalize on “economia de scala,” the economy of scale. For instance, there’s almost an entire subgenre of country music devoted to singing the praises of country life and telling city folk where they can stick it.

I only retroactively understood the last goodbyes Kyle said to his family, not comprehending it in the moment. (Maybe not knowing Kyle’s fate beforehand is my failing, but letting the film surprise me was my choice.) I chose not to discuss this point in the review, fearing I would spoil the ending of the movie for others like myself. Just like the war has for us.” Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. Merle Haggard’s 1969 song “Okie From Muskogee” (“We don’t let our hair grow long and shaggy/like the hippies out in San Francisco do”) is the urtext of the genre.

Even in the past, when death was a much more accepted (and common) part of life than it is today, heroes were known and celebrated for the way their remarkable deeds were carried out in the face of bodily destruction. Coming to America was an obvious next step for the ambitious group, with Southern California being particularly attractive for its sizable Mexican population.

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here. That can be problematic when reviewing a film that’s “based on a true story.” So many will draw comparison to the source material and point out a movie’s flaws – a valid perspective, but one I most often choose not to engage in. I treat movies such as “Sniper,” “Foxcatcher” and “Unbroken” as historical fiction, because the artifice of moviemaking is unavoidable: actors do their own interpretation of a character. On the other hand, an advocate of unfettered gun rights couldn’t be happier with how often Hollywood sends the message that serious problems always have solutions that involve the righteous use of firearms. In most cases, those decisions are made not to make a point but because of more mundane considerations, like how to maximize the audiences advertisers want to reach.

In light of my perspective outlined in the previous paragraph, “American Sniper” is not a documentary, and my commentary was not an analysis of the military or Chris Kyle, the real man, but Cooper’s version of him (and I worded my prose carefully to avoid that). But if you live in a small town in what you consider the heartland, you can take comfort in the fact that even if Hollywood doesn’t set too many dramas in towns like yours, everyone in politics will rush to exalt you, your superior values, and the place you live. Cooper’s movie version of Kyle is, through my personal lens, conflicted, and likely wearing his game face to deal with the traumatic experiences of war combat. Some have criticized Eastwood and Cooper for not discussing politics in the wake of the film’s success – six Oscar nods, more than $100 million at the box office in the first few days of release – or for whitewashing Kyle by selectively ignoring his more troublesome personal traits. Whether you’re listening to a neo-punk band you insist no one’s ever heard of or blasting the same Tim McGraw song coming out of every other pickup truck in a hundred-mile radius, you’re making a statement of identity you want others to hear.

And if you feel that the dominant pop culture isn’t about you, you’ll be particularly interested in whatever you can find that is, or makes a statement you’d like to support. Sure, film criticism sometimes leads to discussions larger than just plot holes and character arcs; the best films engage our intellect or our emotions, or have something to say about the human condition. Film – and storytelling in general – is necessarily larger than reality, something that delivers the extraordinary to us, whose lives are comparatively ordinary.

Although both these propositions are a poor fit for most Americans, they don’t undo King’s or Kyle’s heroism—a point plenty of Americans do seem to grasp. When it comes to their claim to heroism, King’s and Kyle’s religious faith matters because it reminds us to curb our political enthusiasm for hero-worship.

Their Christianity fueled their respective types of greatness—but, even more, it restrained them in ways that are hard to detect from the standpoint of politics. They placed themselves at the mercy of public opinion, King on a daily basis and Kyle through the cocky and provocative memoir he published after his years of service. In the opening scenes of another movie about death and heroism—The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance—a newspaperman confronts Senator Ransom Stoddard, renowned as the killer of the outlaw Valance.

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