American Sniper, a film starring Bradley Cooper and directed by Clint Eastwood, tells the story of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, the most prolific sniper in American military history. The movie details his four tours in Iraq, the difficult decisions he faced while on the job, and the deterioration and rejuvenation of his mental state.
Clint Eastwood and crew did a wonderful job crafting a cohesive and even exciting story line. The movie, based on an autobiography written by Chris Kyle, portrays the effects of the war on Kyle’s psyche. Bradley Cooper, who plays Kyle, mastered the role and did a tremendous job overall.
The movie begins with a clip of Kyle during his first tour, and then abruptly flashes back to his childhood. From there it describes his upbringing and his motivation to join the SEALs. As the movie progresses, the viewer can see the deterioration of Kyle’s relationships with his wife and friends back home as a direct result of his damaged psyche.
However, although this movie’s intention was to inspire viewers and honor Kyle’s career, it has received a myriad of reviews, ranging from high praise to deep criticism.
Many movie-goers took to social media to describe their reaction to the movie and to articulate the respect they have gained for the military and Chris Kyle himself. Unfortunately, most of these posts included hate filled messages towards the Muslim religion.
One user took to Twitter to describe her experience, saying “American Sniper made me appreciate soldiers 100x more and hate Muslims 1000000x more”.
Another wrote, “The reason Selma wasn’t nominated and American Sniper received [six nominations] is MLK didn’t kill enough Arabs. #oscarnoms.”
Ignorant comments such as these are full of hate, charged by a misconception of the Muslim religion as a whole, and dangerously obscure the distinction between Muslims and radical extremists.
Other comments have been made by more notable figures. Seth Rogen tweeted that the movie reminded him of the Nazi propaganda being played in the background of a scene in Inglorious Bastards. Rogen later recanted these comments, saying that it only “kind of” reminded him of the scene, and explained that he actually enjoyed the movie.Michael Moore tweeted that his uncle was killed by a sniper in World War II. He went on to say that snipers are not heroes and neither are invaders.
These comments and tweets do spark debate; however, they also incite hateful rhetoric directed towards Muslims and even American soldiers. These comments have taken the attention away from the movie, and unjustly away from Chris Kyle, an American hero.