Sunday, February 22, 2015

American Sniper: Mustafa

I've been pondering this moment in American Sniper for a while...

It's hard to tell if Mustafa is Chris Kyle's double (trito equality with others) or a reduced (deutero) father-substitute.

On one hand, there's a scene in which Mustafa is shown with his family (wife and kid), he's the best sniper on the enemy side, and he's a legend in Iraq (like Kyle). There's definitely equivalence and this suggests that they are trito peers.

Additionally, after Kyle kills him he alerts the "insurgents" to their location and they come throning up in multitudes or swarming up which is related to the volar trito (as discussed through the Odyssey and the skin ego in a previous post).

On the other hand, in the scene in which Kyle kills him (on the youtube clip) we see an interaction that fits the volar deutero oedipus complex. This was discussed in relation to Aeolus in the Odyssey and the importance of the wind and being "blown away". The volar stage gets its name from the hands and feet (think Jesus' hands and feet being nailed to the cross). This was also explored through the Odyssey and earlier posts. In this scene the hand is what fires the gun and Mustafa is blown away.      
The script:

RANGER ONE (OS) (over mike) Doesn’t matter. Hold your fire. We got uglies right below us--

Chris repositions himself, FACING SOUTH-- he lowers his eye to glass, bleeding sweat, aiming toward Bagdad. CHRIS SCOPE POV (BOTH EYES VIEW) CROSS-HAIRS track to distant rooftops. Everything wobbles and fumes. Trash blows, fronds sway, curtains flap, mirage boils-- all gusting different directions. Almost by accident, he lands on an IMPOSSIBLY SMALL SHAPE. Person? A bag of trash? Or nothing at all. As small as a pepper-flake inside the radius of his scope.

CHRIS (OC) (into mike) I got something. 1900 yards out.

RANGER ONE (OS) You can’t even see that far out. Hold your fire. You’ll expose us all.

 He twitches and wobbles off-target by a city block. Tracking back he spots something in the street-- A GOAT. “D” (OS) He’s right, Legend. No fuckin bueno. CROSS-HAIRS on goat, measuring it between mil-reticals, calculating for distance, then tracking back to target.

CHRIS (OC) Correction. Target is 2100 yards out. “D” That’s over a mile. Impossible shot, even if there was zero wind. 118.

CHRIS (OC) (beat) It’s him.

ENEMY SNIPER HIDE THE SNIPER is covered in a black Hefty bag disguising his presentation, and identity. Ready to kill again.

CHRIS (OS) (CONT’D) (over radio) Fire base thunder, this is Charlie 2 Bravo. We have eyes on the target. Prepare immediate evac’. Over. “D” (OS) There’s no way you can confirm it’s him. ON CHRIS Trying to breathe it down, please god, breathe it down--

CHRIS (OS) Doesn’t matter, he has eyes on our guys.

RANGER ONE (OS) Quick Reaction Force is 20 minutes out. You will stand the fuck down-- “D” (OS) --you wanna get us dead--

Chris scoops dust off the floor and watches with his offeye, as it blows off his palm and plumes outward.


CHRIS’ SCOPE POV CROSS-HAIRS wobble on the dark shape a mile away.

CHRIS (OC) Aim small. Aim small. We zero-in on a small fold on that black bag.

SFX: A LOW FREQUENCY BUZZ escalates as concentration deepens. CLOSE ON SNIPER Face obscured, a PRAYER HISSES from his bearded mouth. CLOSE ON CHRIS 119.Both eyes open, a PRAYER WHISPERS across his lips.

 CHRIS (CONT’D) For Biggles. CLOSE ON SNIPER/CLOSE ON CHRIS SFX: Thump-thump....Thump-BAM! Chris fires first. The shot echoes across eternity. One, two, three seconds later. A red-mist paints the wind.

THE SNIPER tumbles off his platform and out of view.

CHRIS KYLE Tango down. The world rushing back in, he hears INSURGENTS below.

STREET BELOW FACTORY INSURGENTS point up at the building, yelling, rushing in-- ROOFTOP Chris bangs out onto the roof, joining the SIX MAN SQUAD.

RANGER ONE You just fucked us, Legend-- (screams into mike) We need Stryker and QRF units, ASAP.

CHRIS He was on our boys and I took him out. “D” What about us! You took us out too.

 RANGER ONE We are fucked like a football bat! SIDE VIEW (FACTORY) INSURGENTS clear the second floor, bounding toward--


As "the legend" Kyle goes beyond the anal Superlative of being the best in a social hierarchy and becomes singular and immortal.

I've mentioned before that in movies such as Highlander, we see the volar ontology. There are "immortals" who above humanity and when they encounter each other they fight because "there can be only one".

In the phallic deutero the egoist has to approximate the mother's phallic image and in doing so he places himself outside of competition with the father-substitute and brothers.

In the anal deutero the egoist has to approximate the position of authority or commanding and give others the impression he is more important, powerful or in charge than he is.

In the volar deutero the egoist has to approximate the sole possession of power. When another person appears who has the same deutero image then the deutero egoist must engage him so that he has the phallus.

I've described this process before as scopophilia appearing in egoism. Narcissistic patients have nemeses sometimes and they can become preoccupied with what their rival thinks or how he or she would gloat over them in victory. This operation seems related to the idea of envy in Kleinian thought.

We don't see the envy in this story, however, but it's there in the symptom reading...

The reason Kyle takes the shot is rationalized for getting justice for the death of his friend Biggles. If Biggles is the symptom character, however, then the aggrandizement of Kyle as "the legend" by Biggles would be expressed here through Kyle shooting Mustafa and putting everyone at risk for his own aggrandizement.

At this point I don't know what to make of the swarming insurgents...

It's possible to interpret Kyle as having both a deutero fixation and having formed a trito part to his character. Thus, in making the shot he might have gone against his trito conscience and the swarms can represent this.

It's possible that the swarms also just represent social anxiety. The symptom reading points to a vertical repression, like with BAINES and ADA in The Piano.  As Ada's causing desire and love to Stewart was linked to getting off on the castration anxiety of rape and then that of losing her angelic image when she's punished for masturbation, then Kyle's act can also be linked to this response.

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