Clint Eastwood’s new film “American Sniper” has stirred up quite a controversy over the portrayal of NAVY Seal Chris Kyle’s choice of victims during the Iraq War.
According to Box Office Mojo, the film made $89.3 million opening weekend and broke the box office records for the month of January. “American Sniper” has also been nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Picture.
Despite the movie’s popularity, it has caused some anger among the public. Many people are refusing to see the film because they believe it is praising a man who killed women and children who didn’t necessarily deserve to die.
American director and political activist Michael Moore tweeted on Jan. 18, “My uncle [was] killed by a sniper in WW2. We were taught snipers were cowards. [Snipers] will shoot you in the back. Snipers aren’t heroes. And invaders are worse.”
In the film, Bradley Cooper plays the role of Chris Kyle, a Navy SEAL who is the deadliest marksman in U.S. military history. Kyle is sent to fight in the Iraq War after the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001 and he finds that the decisions he must make on the frontline are some of the hardest decisions he will ever face.
Being faced with the choice to kill different people in battle, including women and children, Kyle suffers from Post-traumatic stress disorder. Because of his severe PTSD, Kyle becomes emotionally and physically unavailable to his family, especially his wife Taya Kyle, who is played by Sienna Miller. Unfortunately, on Feb. 3, 2013, Chris Kyle was murdered by a Marine Corps veteran suffering from PTSD named Eddie Routh.
This story was based on the book, “American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History” written by Scott McEwen, Jim DeFelice and Chris Kyle himself.
In the article, “The American Sniper Controversy Proves Film Critics Matter,” Keith Phipps argues that the viewer comes to one of two conclusions.
“Depending on who’s doing the talking, ‘American Sniper’ is a piece of right-wing propaganda that only bloodthirsty racist warmongers could love, or it’s a movie that honors the sacrifices of American soldiers so well that anyone who found fault in it for any reason doesn’t love America,” Phipps said.
Riley Whitsitt, a freshman Marine Corps ROTC student at PLNU said that giving viewers a sense of reality may be shocking.
“‘American Sniper’ portrayed a hero and it was biographical in that sense, and it was doing it so realistically,” Whitsitt said. “It showed so many instances of brutality to show people what happens in war. I completely support people having different opinions on it, I just think a lot of people don’t realize the reality of it.”
Professor of Political Science Dr. Lindsey Lupo believes there is a much deeper issue behind the death of these Iraqi people.
“When you’re in a war you have to do what you need to do to win that war,” Lupo said. “However, we should probably be having conversations about why we even go into these wars, start these wars or collaborate with others in war and whether or not that decision warrants the loss of life on both sides that we’re going to see.”
“Unfortunately, war brings the inevitability of death, but we don’t need to make a Hollywood blockbuster that is celebrating that,” Lupo said.
3rd Class Petty Officer Devin Deckert is currently a sophomore at PLNU and a Navy veteran. He was stationed at Coastal Riverine Squadron 1. Deckert’s job was to locate and defuse underwater explosives. Because of his experience in the Navy, Deckert had very strong opinions toward “American Sniper.”
“The movie isn’t for entertainment purposes like many other movies of war,” Deckert said. “It’s there to tell a life story of a Navy SEAL.”
Deckert believes that anyone can qualify as a threat, despite his or her age.
“If there is any threat to your guys, you have to eliminate it, even if it is a young child,” Deckert said. “It was an accurate portrayal of real life situations and many people do not even realize what’s really going on in this world.”