Clint Eastwood’s latest film American Sniper, is shrouded in a large amount of controversy. The film, which is currently playing in theaters, is a dramatization of the experience of the Navy SEAL officer Chris Kyle. Chris Kyle served four tours in Iraq from 2003 to 2009 and is credited with being the most lethal sniper in the history of the United States military. The feature film is based on Chris Kyle’s autobiography. This movie covers the experiences of the documented 160 kills as well as the remaining unconfirmed 95 kills. A valid portrait is presented of a soldiers emotions, the morality and mortality involved with these experiences, as well as the after effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Eastwood’s latest work is quickly becoming the source of controversy as well as respect. Many claims have been made that the long time actor and director is simply using this as an outlet for his beliefs about war and war propaganda. There has also been a large amount of criticism about the motivations of glorifying Kyle as a cold-blooded killer. While, these criticisms and controversy of American Sniper may be open to interpretation, the fact remains that this is a very real portrait of the extensive experiences of a Navy SEAL. The gory scenes are portrayed in as tasteful a manner as possible and the film seeks to display the emotional aspects of these experiences, above all else.
The nature and act of war are not something we want to experience or face, although this is an extremely inherent reality. The respect this film is gaining is phenomenal. The ticket sales are record breaking and the arguments against the criticism are many. Could it be possible that the criticism and controversy, that the film, Eastwood, and Kyle are receiving, has more to do with personal conflicts and the morality of war rather than the actual film or people themselves?
The movie is a dramatization but depicts the very real issues of war and morality each soldier faces when in combat situations. The separation of humanity from a soldier is easily accomplished by the average civilian. The American soldier, as well as any other soldier, has to struggle to remain one in the same. This struggle is an everyday reality for them despite their experiences and decisions they must make. Often times, these decisions must be made in heated moments of life and death situations. These American soldiers sacrifice parts of themselves if not their lives completely so that the average citizen can continue about their lifestyles and freedom.
The movie American Sniper is on its way to box-office success and has already been selected nominated for several awards. Clint Eastwood is an accomplished actor as well as director. Chris Kyle is a United States Navy SEAL who lived these experiences and fought for The United States freedoms and policies. This film is certainly not lacking in credentials. Perhaps, most if not all of the criticism and controversy this film is receiving, should be an eye opening experience to address the morality of war within our societies and ourselves.
By Brianna McKinney