Calling his wife in the middle of a firefight. One of many scenes in American Sniper that weren’t in the book and didn’t happen in real life. And the big good guy gets the bad guy final combat climax where he drills Mustafa with a headshot from 2100 yards during a sandstorm? Nope, that didn’t happen either.
I was really looking forward to seeing American Sniper but I walked out of the theater disappointed and irritated. I knew who Chris Kyle was. I read his book and had heard many of the stories, both good and bad, about him. I was hoping that this movie would reconcile it all into one person I could hang my hat on.
Chris Kyle along with everybody else that straps on a helmet and goes is a hero in my book. Period. Full stop. However, that doesn’t mean that I have to rubberstamp his movie and I am not going to. My problem started within the first few minutes when his character puts a hole the size of a tennis ball through the chest of a 10 y/o boy carrying an anti-tank grenade. Yea, I know, shitty situation and the worst possible decision for a moral man in his position to make but the mission was to protect the Marines on the ground by eliminating legitimate threats. You don’t always get to choose in what form threats come, you just deal with them. That’s war.
What disturbed me was that this scene was in the movie at all. Why? It was the most controversial part of the movie and the most commonly run scene in the previews/trailers. They new it would create a sensational uproar. The problem is it wasn’t in the book, it didn’t really happen, the movie makers made it up. That knocked me off the bandwagon and from that point on all I did was nit pick it apart.
Look, if you are making a Harry Potter or Lord of the Ring film and want to stray from the book with some literary license be my guest but this was supposed to be the Chris Kyle US Navy SEAL biopic. A story good enough in absolutely every single respect that it didn’t need to be changed at all let alone embellished with pure fantasy. It just needed to be told well and Director Clint Eastwood should have known that. And here is the part that really chaps my ass and makes me wonder. Kyle agreed to it. He signed off on the screenplay shortly before his death.
Now before you go lumping me in with Jesse Ventura know that this thing is breaking all kinds of box office records so don’t worry. My little review here isn’t going to cost anybody any money. I am just saying that it would have been just as popular, just as profitable without the Hollywood bullshit and it would have saved some of us from having to argue with the likes of Michael Moore.
So see it if you want to but, with all due respect to the man and the things he really did do, I can’t recommend it. Watch Zero Dark Thirty and Act of Valor again instead.
UPDATE – Check out this article on the legal mess surrounding profits from the book and movie. Yikes.