Caught between criticism, commitment, and conviction.
Grossing $105 million in its opening weekend, it is no surprise that “American Sniper” is the biggest box office hit since “Avatar.”
With its sequences of intense gore and emotionally moving scenes, “American Sniper” tells the story of one man’s quests, convictions, and events as an U.S. Navy SEAL.
According to director Clint Eastwood, the film “certainly has nothing to do with political parties.” Yet, it has caused immense controversy between the left and right wings of politics. Matt Taibbi, a writer for Newsweek, recently wrote an article criticizing the new film, saying “Sniper is a movie whose politics are so ludicrous and idiotic that under normal circumstances it would be beneath criticism. It’s the fact that the movie is popular, and actually makes sense to so many people, that’s the problem.”
Many people are taking to Tumblr to blame the recent Chapel Hill shootings on the film. “A movie about a man who wishes he’d killed more Muslims hits theaters and does well. A month later, three Muslims are dead because of a “parking dispute.” Probably a coincidence. Nothing to worry about,” says one user.
Critics claim that “American Sniper” glorifies murder and the killing of Muslims. Others claim that it is simply a narration of his life story. First Lady Michelle Obama spoke out in support of the movie, saying “while I know there have been critics, I felt that, more often than not, this film touches on many of the emotions and experiences that I’ve heard firsthand from military families over these past few years.”
Bradley Cooper, who played Kyle, recently had an interview with NavyTimes. “He (Kyle) wished they’d record how many lives saved as opposed to killed. He didn’t understand why you would mark it up as confirmed kills instead of lives saved. It’s for the audience to decide whether he’s conflicted about what he’s doing. He certainly says, at the end of the movie when he’s talking to the psychologist, the only thing that bothers him are the lives he couldn’t save.”
Perhaps the root problem behind the criticism of “American Sniper” is that there is no grasp of what the troops are fighting for and against. There is a lack of understanding for the reasons of Chris Kyle’s actions. Many Islamic extremists despise the West and everything America stands for. U.S. troops not only fight for the freedoms of westerners, but also for innocent Muslims to live in their country free of tyranny.
Is it ignorance, or is there a refusal to come to terms with the fact that there are unjustified haters of America? Perhaps there is an unwillingness to acknowledge radical Islam for a fear of being politically incorrect. “American Sniper” exposes these evils and shines them in a very different light that may be too much for people to swallow.
This film is an invitation for a much needed truthful conversation about America finishing a fight it did not start.
Article by staff writer Alexandra Rothman.
- American Sniper: Photo courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures/TNS | Used With Permission