Over the past year alone, there has been no shortage of progressive Hollywood lowlights. There was Sony’s decision to pull “The Interview” when faced with hacking opposition from the tyrannical cowards of North Korea. And while the vast majority of outspoken celebrity personalities should be applauded for condemning the action and defending free speech, it makes you wonder: did Sony consult no one before acting because apparently exactly no one, from the president to Ben Stiller, agreed with this duck taping of the First Amendment?!?! Next up are the oblivious comments made at a party thrown for President Obama in Hollywood, by a renowned actress, as to the comparative difficulties of a working mother who is also an actress making $15 million a movie, as opposed to a “normal” working mother. The implication being that the former carries more challenges. And as Harry says to Lloyd, “just when I think you can’t get any dumber” there’s the recent hoopla regarding the Oscars, diversity and the short term memory loss of last year’s winners.
But all is not lost as Hollywood does have a way of finding the magic of redemption.
On the surface there’s nothing groundbreaking about the film “American Sniper.” A critically acclaimed, award-winning star teams up with a critically acclaimed, award winning star-turned-director to make a major motion picture based upon a critically acclaimed, bestselling autobiography about a military hero. Hell, just throw in some fast cars and a dash of cleavage and you got a sure-fire box office smash, regardless of any shallow writing or fidelity to the actual story.
But the beauty of “American Sniper” is in the integrity it maintains throughout the film. Very little screen time was wasted on superfluous explosions and none on gratuitous nudity. Instead, the director and lead actor created a fully realized character that was in fact a real human being worthy of a big Hollywood hit. They dared to portray a truth rarely seen about the enemies that our military faces: they are aggressive combatants in plain clothing, some women, some children. They showed us the inner conflict of a veteran among veterans who’s skills as a SEAL and a sniper were used to protect his fellow soldiers. They showed us that indeed, war is hell but that it is also, at times, an unavoidable consequence of world events. They showed us one man who loved his family and his country. And it worked beautifully.
This is a film that through its titular character loves the United States. It does not promote or glorify war nor does it get into the politics over the invasion of Iraq. It’s more personal than that. It follows one man driven by his love of God and country, his duty to something greater than himself and his ability to defend those who fight beside him. And he is very good at what he does, the absolute best of the best.
This is the triumph of the individual over the great horrors through which he has lived and the battle to find himself once again. This story of sacrifice, greatness and redemption holds true to the values that make family and country worth fighting for: honor, love and integrity throughout. It also inadvertently, for a brief moment, redeems an industry suffering under the spectre of progressive ideology.
It is the reason I go to the movies.