By Nancy Chuda founder and Editor in Chief of LuxEcoLiving and co-founder of Healthy Child Healthy World
"There's evil in the world... your either a sheep, wolf or sheepdog." And from the moment Bradley Cooper became Chris Kyle his Texan roots dug him six feet under ground.We live in a world where life defies death and calls upon young men and women to defend their country at all costs even if the sacrifice requires a bullet in the head. Based on the real life memoir of Navy Seal hero, Chris Kyle, Cooper deserves an Oscar for more than just a brilliant portrayal... it's his best performance yet.
I couldn't speak or sleep after I witnessed Cooper's flawless interpretation of the spellbinding, mind bending career of Chris Kyle, a true Navy Seal whose life lessons did put him six feet under but not until he became known as Legend. His universe was convoluted from the day he was born. His father taught him what was most likely taught to him; that violence begets evil and evil propels more violence and the real war of his upbringing created a mental addiction that balanced between vengeance and justice in a world gone mad.
Mad! That was my reaction to this stellar work! Clint Eastwood is the director of American Sniper and he too has balanced his career on the simple premise that men, even the best of them, like to fight for justice, live their convictions and face their enemies with a moral imperative and a gun.
But what does an audience do to quell their own post-traumatic stress disorders when it comes to the pantheon and plague of hostile religious ideologies that can't exist with or without each other. Was Eastwood pointing his gun? ( Cooper's stark blue eyes fixated on the barrel in the film) on a much deeper revelation that man's inhumanity to man is primal and will never change. That war is a necessary evil. Or is it? The film penetrates us at our chore.
I caught my breath during credits. What opened my Pandora's Box to the reality of war was my faithful mother's dedication to ending it. She was one of a few women who founded Another Mother For Peace and their slogan, "War is not healthy for children and other living things," lives in my heart and echos my Buddhist principles (Nichren's Buddhism) that teaches us that we need to value all life of human beings. (Pictured below with congressional representatives in Washington DC during the Vietnam War 1965, Gloria Vanderbilt, Lenore Breslauer-my mother, Mrs. Elmer Bernstein, Joanne Woodward, and Barbara Avedon).
Mahatma Gandi said, " Good travels at a snails pace." "The peace movement cannot accomplish things radically and all at once. Often, it can only advance by gradual and protracted means. Gradualism does not, however, imply negative compromise or merely passing time. It means truly reforming our times by sowing seeds of peace in individual minds through sincere dialogue and, in this way, cultivating consensus." Daisaku Ikeda
What the film, American Sniper teaches us and what acclaimed director John Huston proved in his remarkable documentary, Let There Be Light in 1946, is that all human beings have a breaking point. That's what makes us human. And to witness the mental and moral decay of American soldiers returning after World War II, barely able to speak, walk, or remember, instinctive human traits, was a turning point for all to understand the neglect and secrecy of the United States military.
Internet Photo Archive Director John Huston, Let There Be Light.
If films can reawaken the human need for change then this one is our only hope. It is tough to watch. Worse to hear but sadly it is a necessity. And what makes it bearable is the human to human, man to woman interaction. Sienna Miller should follow Cooper in accepting her Oscar for a riveting portrayal of a Seal's wife, mother of their children, and offers the intuitive gift that all women possess. The preservation of human life. Miller is the true gift of this film.
Jason Hall's script weaves a longstanding memory for Chris Kyle. He mesmerizes us with a sensitivity writing from a woman's perspective, in this case,Taya, played by Miller. In her first pregnancy and his second tour on duty, she collapses knowing that his life taking missions might someday haunt her and his child. If that isn't a clear indication of how women perceive, postulate and predict while holding the stirrings of newborn life in their womb... for me that is what we celebrate. An instinct followed by an unbelievable fact of truth.
As Eastwood rolls towards the epilogue of Kyle's brave and short life we are stunned, humiliated, deeply pained, by the celebratory curse of Chris Kyle's Iraq where he served four tours of duty and killed up to 160 enemies. This was his reality. Confronting men that rape women and use children as suicide bombers, and who mutilate and torture anyone who opposes them. And we sit dumbfounded in our theater seats, reminded of our nations attacks, 9/11 so vividly penetrated in our minds. And we think about the pride and privileges we share as Americans. And we hold truth, honor and victory as we watch our American Marines, human beings, murdered on foreign soil for nothing more than to be counted as sheep in a line of fire in a far more evil world than can ever be imagined. And when Chris Kyle's coffin was lowered to the ground containing all the silver stars embedded on his wooden casket...it was hard to imagine and worse to believe that his life would be taken by a man, Eddie Ray Routh, a Marine veteran who gunned down Kyle and his friend. I ask, who is the hero, the man who dies or the man who pulls the trigger? WATCH Let There Be Light and share!!!
Photo by Internet Video Archive.