Archetypes: Film: Review: ‘American Sniper’ (2014)

Warner Bros. Pictures

Warner Bros. Pictures

At the heart of soldiering is the Mars archetype, involving action, weapons and a fair amount of aggression to ensure the job gets done. As seen in American Sniper, Clint Eastwood’s biopic of Chris Kyle, a Navy SEAL with the highest sniper-kill numbers in U.S. military history, Kyle clearly took his work in the field home with him.

Based on Kyle’s book, American Sniper gets to the man’s exceptional marksmanship early on, when his father all but anoints his son in his vocation: those who have been blessed with the gift of aggression are meant to protect the flock.

As an adult, Kyle (a beefed up Bradley Cooper) has been earning his livelihood as a rodeo guy, but harm to American interests abroad prompts him to enlist and endure grueling SEAL training. He’s deployed to Iraq as a sniper and, after a few stunning instinctual calls and kills, he’s on the trajectory to legend. But it’s as though every terrorist takedown takes a bit of his soul, a depletion that becomes increasing apparent over four tours of duty when he’s on leave with his wife Taya (Sienna Miller). “Even when you’re here you’re not here,” she says.

Especially riveting in American Sniper is Kyle’s version of the warrior archetype. Ideally, a sniper is an assassin and hunter, making a clean kill and moving to the next target. As portrayed on screen, Kyle has incorporated into the mix the Lunar and Mother archetype of protection, caring, defense and emotions. Coupling Mars and Moon makes aggression and killing a highly emotional act for Kyle. And when he’s at home with his family, he’s emotionally locked down, a situation which, on screen, escalates over time, until he finally ends his military service.

Kyle’s death, which occurred nearly two years ago, is tragic, all the more so because, by then, he embraced the Lunar archetype in a more clearly defined way: nurturing veterans who need help.

American Sniper makes a strong and necessary point that war’s emotional aftermath is as critically debilitating as physical injury.

Archetype: Warrior. Sniper. Assassin. Aggressive Protector. Defender. Emoter.

Astrology Archetype: ☽ ♂ (Moon, Mars)

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