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Friday, January 23, 2015

American Sniper & Enemy at the Gates

Reading about the movie, American Sniper...

a 2014 American biographical war drama film directed by Clint Eastwood and written by Jason Hall. It is based on Chris Kyle's autobiography American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History. With 255 kills, 160 of which were officially confirmed by the Department of Defense, Kyle is the deadliest marksman in U.S. military history. His widow Taya Renae Kyle was heavily involved with the making of the film. The film stars Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller with Luke Grimes, Kyle Gallner, Sam Jaeger, Jake McDorman, and Cory Hardrict in supporting roles.

Here's a review of the movie - What people get wrong about 'American Sniper' - and here's a trailer ...

I haven't seen the movie yet and I'm not sure if I will, but what struck me was its similarity to a 2001 film about another real life sniper. The movie was Enemy at the Gates, directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud, and starring Jude Law, Joseph Fiennes, Rachel Weisz, and Ed Harris.

The film's title is taken from William Craig's 1973 nonfiction book Enemy at the Gates: The Battle for Stalingrad, which describes the events surrounding the Battle of Stalingrad from 1942–1943. It is based on a duel mentioned in the book that developed between the legendary Soviet sniper Vasily Grigoryevich Zaitsev and his German counterpart, Major Erwin König, as they stalk each other during the battle.

I posted about Enemy at the Gates here - How to remain a pacifist . Roger Ebert gave the film 3 out of 4 stars and here's a trailer ...

There are some similarities between the two snipers - both were taught to use a gun hunting as boys, both were eventually confronted by expert snipers from the opposing forces, but their lives ended very differently: Kyle was murdered at a shooting range a few years after he left the service but Zaitsev lived a long life, dying at age 76 in 1991. Also different would be the perceived morality of the theaters they operated within as snipers .... Zaitsev defended his country against a Nazi invasion in what Wikipedia calls the single largest and bloodiest battle in the history of warfare, while Kyle's war and his service seem more ethically ambiguous.


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