Some Ramblings - American Sniper (2014) by Srinivas Kanchibhotla
You are at > Ramblings > American Sniper
Follow Us

Tag any profession with the word 'American' in the front and it somehow brings the job into a much sharper relief - American Rocker, American Sportsman, American Sniper, or sometimes simply the word 'American'. An Italian athlete or a French Sous Chef would never draw that much attention to himself as an American professional would. It is only because there is a great divide between how the rest of the world sees the country and its people and how its own citizens view the world from their tinted glasses. For an American, freedom and choice to lead his life in his own way aren't merely principles enshrined in the country's most revered books, they are his birth rights; he never for a second thinks otherwise that these inalienable rights need to be compromised with or surrendered under any situation, however dire it might be. These positions have been working for him for so long that he never felt the need to alter them even a bit in the ever changing geo-political situation. So far so good. The rest of the world had little problem as long as the American was within the boundaries of his great nation shouting these 'God given rights' from rooftops. But the moment where he is dragged out of his comfort zone, for whatever reason, and forced to interact with people of different ideologies and persuasions, who might hold positions in direct opposition to what the American had so steadfastly been vouching for, was when the rest of the world finally got the opportunity to yell back at the American in the idiom he understands - Wake up and smell the coffee! For probably the first time in the history of the country, the American realized in his interaction with the world, that the idea of America is hated more than the concept on which it was founded (based on self evident truths of freedom and liberty), that it holds the rest of the world at far greater contempt than it holds its citizens dearer, that its self interests are far more paramount even if is at the detriment of the rest. This is dichotomy that the modern day American finds hard to reconcile with. How could his beloved country that has given him everything a decent citizen could ask for be so reviled outside? One who can't come to terms with it might brush it off as 'jealousy of those freedom-hating savages' and ones who try to find real truth come way disillusioned about the true intentions of their nation. And no where is this inner conflict more pronounced that in the American armed forces who are fighting for their country at various troubled regions.

'American Sniper' is about a true story of a decorated and a celebrated American Sniper, who did 4 tours of duty in Iraq and earned the title 'The Legend' for the number of kills (160+) that were ascribed to him. But Clint Eastwood's depiction of the professional is not just about the war sequences (which are nonetheless expertly staged and tension filled and old fashioned, a welcome change from the shaky camera immediacy of the current age efforts involving battlefields) nor does it harp on the politics of the war. It is about the psychological toll on the mind and soul of a normal human being, a husband, a father, a well respected member of the society with every kill he makes and with every decoration he is adorned with for that kill and how each tour of duty lasting for months together behind the enemy lines chips away the humanity of the soldier being confronted with targets day in day out that are sometimes too small to even lift the RPG aimed at him or too cold to just drill away into the skulls of little kids whose fathers were accused of being an informer. There is something that is strangely disconcerting about the current war on terror, in that, while all the major previous wars had the entire country rallying for (sometimes against, like Vietnam) the war efforts making the armed forces feel as though they could pick up their lives from where they left off by the time they returned home, the current engagement is polar opposite with life in mainstream America going on as though nothing of any significance is happening with the troops with weekend baseball games, New Year parties, professional sports' draft live coverage et al. And to the soldier who is dripping with enemy's blood on his hands lands stateside to witness the world moving on since he left the shores, it becomes a herculean task reconciling the idyllica of everyday Americana with the hell that he witnessed just a few days ago on the foreign soil. This is not simply a case of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This is a crisis of identity and his place in the current society that cares more about reality shows than the actual reality unfolding in the battlefronts.

The fact that present day soldiers overwhelmingly vote for returning to battlefields to be with their brethren at the earliest opportunity than stay back with their families and lead a life of peace says something about how out of place the troops must feel in the comfortable confines of their own homes. 'Sniper' also concentrates on the other aspect that's rarely touched in such war movies - the devastating effect on the husband-wife relationship and the constant state of fear that the wife remains in while the husband continues to be just a whisker away from a speeding bullet (Recall from a few years ago, how an Israeli soldier captured by Hezbollah on the other side of Lebanon was forced to call his 9-month pregnant wife at home and say his goodbyes, before he was torn apart by the mob and his dead body paraded on the streets). The perpetual tug of war between the husband who feels emasculated talking about his war scars when at home and the wife who feels a need to heal him by compeling him to open up more about what happened back in the battlefield, and the pent up frustration that keeps on building with each tour duty becomes another powder keg situation waiting to go off anytime. And the statistical fact that most troops come back to broken homes keeps piling on the (di)stress that the modern day American soldier finds himself in. In Eastwood's steady and able hands and Bradley Cooper's amazing focus and concentration portraying the real life persona of Chris Kyle, 'American Sniper' shows how burdensome the freedom-loving and liberty-toting tag the prefix 'American' has become!


checkout for Srinivas's Blog.




More Ramblings
The Interview
Gone Girl
The Square
Before Midnight
Inside Llewyn Davis
Dallas Buyers Club
The spectacular now
All is lost
12 Years a Slave
Wolf of Wall Street
Saving Mr. Banks
Attarintiki Daaredi
Man of Steel
Startrek Into Darkness
Django Unchained
Zero Dark Thirty
Sky Fall
Cloud Atlas
The Dark Knight Rises
The Businessman
The Avengers
The Artist
Money Ball
Adventures of Tintin
Mission Impossible: Ghosty Porotocol
Sri Ramarajyam
The Ides of March
The Tree of Life
Super 8
Teen Maar
Inside Job
127 hours
The king's speech
The social network
Peepli [live]
Kick Ass
Ye Maya Chesave
Maya Bazaar
3 Idiots
Inglorious Basterds
District 9
The Hurt Locker
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Slumdog Millionaire
Quantom of Solace
The Dark Knight
Wall - E
The incredible Hulk
Indiana Jones and the kingdom of crystal skull
Speed Racer
Iron Man
Jodha Akbar
There will be blood
Chrlie Wilson's War
No Country for Old Men
Om Shanti Om
Lions for Lambs
American Gangster
Michael Clayton
Happy Days
Chak De India!
The Bourne Ultimatum
The Simpsons Movie
The Grindhouse
Casino Royale
The Departed
Lage Raho Munnabhai
Superman Returns
The Da Vinci Code
Sri Ramadasu
Rang De Basanti (Hindi)
Jai Chiranjeeva!
Munich (English)
Sarkar (Hindi)
Mangal Padey (Hindi)
Kaadhal (Tamil)
Anukokunda Oka Roju
Batman Begins (English)
Radha Gopalam
Mughal E Azam
Virumandi (Tamil)
Lakshya (Hindi)
Yuva (Hindi)
Kakha Kakha (Tamil)
Mr & Mrs Iyer
Nuvve Nuvve

Privacy Policy | Disclaimer | Copyright 1999 - 2015 All rights reserved