American Sniper causes student to question the film’s intentions
Directed by Clint Eastwood, American Sniper is a beautifully made film that has generated a decent amount of controversy over its historical inaccuracies and tainted depiction of the Iraq War.
However, the most noticeable and worrisome aspect of the film, which is evident to me, is the shameful misinterpretation of the film by the majority of its viewers.
After seeing the film, I was impressed.
Having always been a fan of Eastwood’s cinematic masterpieces, I think American Sniper is no exception, containing impressive cinematography and a great performance from Bradley Cooper.
However, these comments are purely from a filmmaking perspective.
After walking out of the theater and turning to social media to see what my peers had to say, I saw the entire movie had gone right over many of their heads.
American Sniper is not a patriotic battle cry to kill the terrorists.
It is not an excuse for people to voice their bigotry concerning muslims.
And, it is certainly not an excuse for the supremely annoying Cloyd Rivers account to tweet more about how great “Murica” is.
In fact, according to Eastwood himself it is, “the biggest anti-war statement” he has ever made.
The film depicts the detrimental and lasting effect that warfare can have on individuals, glossed over with an ironic tone of patriotism, given Eastwood’s outspoken opposition to U.S. intervention in the Middle East.
I am disappointed, but not surprised, that this movie has been used as a rallying point for military recruitment centers and war mongering politicians.
Dean Obeidallah of CNN perfectly illustrated my thoughts on this film’s reception when he compared American Sniper to the hit song “Born in the U.S.A.” by Bruce Springsteen. At its face value, it seems to be a patriotic anthem, but when you go a layer deeper and actually listen to the lyrics, it is anything but patriotic; criticizing America’s treatment of Vietnam vets, using the ironic guise of patriotism to convey deeper social commentary.
“Born in the U.S.A.” has been misinterpreted for years, even being played at political conventions. This misinterpretation seems to be exactly what is happening with American Sniper among the military and gung-ho Americans who support anything that kills those gosh darn savage Muslims.
In addition to the misinterpretation of the film by viewers, the movie does not accurately portray the Iraq war, nor Chris Kyle himself.
Eastwood’s depiction of the Iraq war is overly simplistic, which also exacerbates the idiocy of those who deem the film a patriotic war cry, which is confusing to me given Eastwood’s known position on the war, but I will save that rant for another day.
American Sniper is a well made film whose meaning has been twisted and distorted in order to achieve an end that the filmmakers never intended it to.
The film should not be reduced to a simplistic, government propaganda-esque patriotic flick, but should be treated as the emotionally complex war drama that it is.