Comparing ‘American Sniper’ to reality

In its third week in theaters, the movie American Sniper is still a box office hit. However, it’s also still sparking debate over how realistic it is. 

For some perspective between reality and Hollywood, Local 6’s Juliana Valencia shows us a view into this military world through someone who’s lived a similar experience – retired Marine sniper Kevin Neal.

Neal served three tours and ended his career as a Gunnery Sergeant in the United States Marine Corp.  

The Purple Heart Recipient said his story is no different from others in the military.

“It’s just a story that I have to share to help people understand what really went on. You know, from our perspective. As a sniper, we tend to see a lot more detail,” Neal said. 

Neal served as a Marine sniper in Fallujah, Iraq during the same time, as America’s deadliest sniper -Chris Kyle. The movie American Sniper is based off Kyle’s life during the Iraq War. 

Neal said the movie does a good job of accurately sharing Kyle’s story.

“In the movie there were a lot of rooftop engagement. We were there to provide security for the service members that were moving about. Looking back at the scenes, he had a static position and I can remember his frustration,” Neal said.

Neal said it’s not an easy skill to master.

“There are three stages through sniper school. It’s very demanding physically and academically, and then it’s hard just to get into the school,” Neal said.

Bradley Cooper portrays Kyle as having a hard time connecting at home after deployment. Some critics said the movie didn’t explore PTSD as well its scenes in Iraq.

While Neal said the movie did a good job showing the war from a sniper’s point of view in Iraq, he said everyone deals with coming home differently. 

“Your hyper-vigilance is at its peak. When you come back into an environment where you’re not threatened you have to adapt. That is difficult for some,” Neal said.

Variety reports ‘American Sniper’ earned $10-million Friday and is expected to reach just under $250-million dollars in sales by Sunday

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