January 11th, 2015

As always, when it’s about movies: spoilers ahead. Read with caution!

Yesterday night I went to see American Sniper, the latest Clint Eastwood movie; featuring a marvellous Bradley Cooper (I was very skeptic of this choice, especially if you think of any of The Hangover movies).

When the credits started rolling at the end, my first reaction was: I already saw this story.

Let me explain.

American Sniper is the real story of a cowboy turned Navy Seals sniper after whitnessing what happened to the Twin Towers in New York in 2001. After joining the Army and being sent after Bin Laden’s own army, he starts killing one enemy after the other, earning for himself the title of Legend. One enemy, another sniper, is his main adversary, taking many American lives. An incredible final shoot will see the Legend triumphant in the very end.

On the personal side, the sniper has a wife and two childrens, but ha has difficulties in coping with life away from the battlefield. He always feels responsible for all the lives he cannot save, rather than regretting all the lives he took.

Stop me if you have already heard this.

We need to travel back to 2001, year of release of Enemy at the Gates. This movie tells the story of a Soviet sniper, Vasily Zaytsev, engaged in a three day battle with a German sniper during the Battle of Stalingrad in 1942 during the Second World War. He enlists in the Red Army because he had no choice at the time and after being discovered by a Soviet political messenger and thanks to his skills, quickly became a poster-child of the War.

If you take the stories of these two extraordinary men and you put them side-by-side, you can see that the parallelisms go back to when they were both children. They were both trained with the rifle since they were very young and both later on went on to become legends and at same time propaganda tools. Their successes were used to boost the soldiers’ morale and intimidate the enemy. Their reputations will give them both a fierce enemy, putting their lives even more on the line.

On the personal side, they both struggle with their love. Vasily looses his woman in war, being killed by the opponent German sniper, Chris has a family but he has trouble to connect with it and when it does it’s too late, being killed by a young War Veteran.

These two stories, happening 70 years apart, share some incredible similarities and really they make you think. It makes you look back and reflect on how true it is that we can learn a lot from history and at the same time we can predict what will happen.

It really seems that history keeps repeating itself.