By: Jessica Griggs ~Guest Writer~
“American Sniper” delivered the true story of Chris Kyle, a Navy SEAL who was labeled the “most lethal sniper in U.S. history,” to millions of moviegoers since its release earlier this month.
The film is the most recent release by director Clint Eastwood. The film recounts each of Kyle’s four tours in Iraq as well as the battle at home that both he and his family faced against the emotional repercussions of war.
Suspenseful, adrenaline fueled scenes in combat are juxtaposed with tense situations stateside where Kyle wrestles with the conflicting duties he feels he owes to both his country and his family. The proud and honor-driven Kyle is played by Oscar nominee Bradley Cooper, who garnered another nomination for his performance. Sienna Miller portrays Kyle’s wife, Taya. In addition to Cooper’s nomination for Best Actor, the film has earned five other Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Screenplay Based on Material Previously Published and Best Achievement in Editing.
“American Sniper” is based on Kyle’s memoir of the same title and, as a result, has been surrounded by controversy. With a mistimed release date just after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in France, many claim that the film contributes to Islamophobia and cite the source material in which Kyle describes “killing so many people in Iraq” as “fun.” Despite the controversy,
“American Sniper” has become the highest-grossing film in the running for the Academy Award for Best Picture, and, although criticism of the memoir may be warranted, it is also entirely possible to see the movie and leave without catching Islamophobia.
The film is interwoven with serious moments that provoke thought, intense battles punctuated by gunfire and humorous respites — some intentional and some not, like the use of a prop baby that CNN claims “steals the scene.”
The merits of “American Sniper” lie in its depictions of the conditions of the Iraq War and a veteran’s struggle with adjusting to civilian life after returning home.