Clint Eastwood’s newest film, American Sniper, has been heavily criticized for altering the true history of the source material to make the movie more suitable for American audiences. American Sniper is based on the memoir of Chris Kyle, a former U.S. Navy Seal from Texas, who was deployed to Iraq in 2003. Kyle admits in his own memoir that he enjoyed the act of killing people, which he claims to have done 255 times. Meanwhile, the movie adaptation American Sniper reportedly portrays Kyle as a much more human character. Some say American Sniper even depicts him as a hero.
Raw Story discussed the discrepancies between the complex reality of Kyle’s memoir and American Sniper’s Hollywood makeover, accusing American Sniper of simplifying a “hate-filled killer” to appeal to American patriots. Variety claims American Sniper established a dilemma for Bradley Cooper’s character, wherein he had to adopt a sense of us-versus-them to justify killing 255 people on the battlefield.
“Chris Kyle saw the world in clearly demarcated terms of good and evil, and American Sniper suggests that such dichromatism may have been key to both his success and survival; on the battlefield, doubt is akin to death.”
Meanwhile, Chris Kyle’s memoir reveals that the sniper found killing “fun” and described it as something he “loved” to do. In fact, Kyle even wrote that he “couldn’t give a flying f*** about the Iraqis” he was killing. While many of Cooper’s words were written into the script, American Sniper contorts Kyle into a more sympathetic character. Seemingly aware that viewers wouldn’t be interested in watching American Sniper if the protagonist was depicted as a sociopath, Eastwood decided to make American Sniper hint at a struggle within Cooper’s moral compass.
In doing so, Eastwood betrayed the truth of history in the eyes of many American Sniper viewers. First Look accuses American Sniper of dehumanizing Iraqi people and venerating Cooper’s character, despite the fact that Kyle’s shocking, hateful words were kept in tact.
By focusing on Kyle’s post-traumatic stress disorder and emotional state, First Look claims American Sniper makes a pro-America and anti-Iraqi political message, whether it intends to or not. American Sniper does not cover the thousands of innocent civilians who died in the crossfire, or the Iraqis who fought alongside American soldier. Instead, some say American Sniper accidentally (or otherwise) glorifies Chris Kyle’s killing spree.
While it might be obvious to some viewers of American Sniper that Bradley Cooper’s character should not be celebrated, many self-professed American patriots have rushed to defend American Sniper’s depiction of Chris Kyle and hailed him as a hero.
In response to criticism of Kyle and American Sniper, one American mom wrote: “Move your America hating a** to Iraq, let ISIS rape you then cut your c*** head off, f***ing media w**** muslim.”
Even more alarming is the threat Clint Eastwood and Bradley Cooper received from the father of Chris Kyle, who swore he’d “unleash hell” on the filmmakers if they disrespected his son in American Sniper.
Have you seen American Sniper? If so, what did you think of the film’s portrayal of Chris Kyle?