To say that American Sniper is one of the most controversial films in recent American cinema would be a huge understatement. Not a day goes by without another pundit, celebrity, or other notable public figure either pledging their support for the story told by American Sniper or tearing it down as a piece of war propaganda.
That might have you wondering if the makers of American Sniper knew that this was going to be the case all along. After all, the Iraq War isn’t exactly universally accepted as a noble conflict. Even more divisive, the figure at the center of American Sniper, Chris Kyle, openly spoke about taking joy in the killing of his targets, something that has outraged critics who say the man behind the gun is far from a hero.
American Sniper‘s screenwriter Jason Hall, however, defended the film’s controversial nature in a recent interview with Rolling Stone.
“To me, the point of art is to promote discussion — and this film is doing that. It’s time that we had this discussion, that we understand the sacrifice of these warriors. We didn’t set out to explore the archetype of war; we set out to explore the archetype of the warrior. We did that from one man’s point of view. While the movie is being criticized for not providing a larger context, this point was to explore war through the eyes of this person. That’s the POV we used. It’s a character study.”
Hall also mentioned that he had not anticipated that American Sniper would take on such a life outside of the film, though he did also mention that he thought Chris Kyle’s story did not attract previous attention because of its controversial nature.
“Nobody anticipated it being this much of a success. Nobody anticipated it being this much of a hot button topic. Now we’re seeing that its been adopted by the left and the right, for good reasons. It’s inspired discussions, passion and anger and I think it’s time that those thoughts were on the table. The beautiful part is that while everyone on the left is arguing with everyone on the right, and they seem to get further and further apart, it’s the guys in the middle that this was for. It’s hitting them in the exact right spot.”
Despite American Sniper‘s controversy, its box office trajectory has been undeterred. The film has thus far grossed $227 million worldwide, according to a previous Inquisitr article.
[Image via American Sniper]