Is 'American Sniper's' Chris Kyle a Hero or, Uh, Something Else? Hollywood Weighs In
Clint Eastwood’s Oscar nominated American Sniper went wide this weekend, and based on the box-office, there’s a decent chance you’ve seen the movie. Based in the comments in our review, there’s a chance you’ve also taken a side (or at least, you’ve taken a point of view in opposition to other points of views).
I’m content here to take the middle ground: The conservative Islamophobic reaction to the film has been deplorable, but the idea that Chris Kyle is a “coward” also misses the mark. As best I can tell from the movie, which is all I really have to go on, Chris Kyle was a man deeply damaged by actions he believed to be in the best interests of his country. If anything, I take issue with putting a soldier in the position to kill 160-250 people; that would fuck anyone up.
Here’s how everyone else is weighing in, so far.
Jane Fonda: Team Sniper
Just saw "American Sniper" Powerful. Another view of "Coming Home." Bradley Cooper sensational. Bravo Clint Eastwood. http://t.co/l94zY5Gh8Q— Jane Seymour Fonda (@Janefonda) December 21, 2014
Seth Rogen: Not So Much
American Sniper kind of reminds me of the movie that's showing in the third act of Inglorious Basterds.— Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) January 18, 2015
Michael Moore: Team Coward
My uncle killed by sniper in WW2. We were taught snipers were cowards. Will shoot u in the back. Snipers aren't heroes. And invaders r worse— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) January 18, 2015
Rob Lowe and Newt Gingrich: Team Michael Moore Is an Idiot
Michael Moore should spend a few weeks with ISIS and Boko Haram. Then he might appreciate@AmericanSniper. I am proud of our defenders.— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) January 19, 2015
Team No F*cking Way: Rabia Chaudhury (from Serial):
Meanwhile, the op-ed media has also weighed in.
Lindy West at the Guardian: The real American Sniper was a hate-filled killer.
Chris Kyle, a US navy Seal from Texas, was deployed to Iraq in 2003 and claimed to have killed more than 255 people during his six-year military career. In his memoir, Kyle reportedly described killing as “fun”, something he “loved”; he was unwavering in his belief that everyone he shot was a “bad guy”. “I hate the damn savages,” he wrote. “I couldn’t give a flying fuck about the Iraqis.” He bragged about murdering looters during Hurricane Katrina, though that was never substantiated.
Journalist Rania Khalek:
“Kill every male you see”: American psycho sniper Chris Kyle and the role of US snipers in Iraq https://t.co/BzzEt70T64— Rania Khalek (@RaniaKhalek) December 30, 2014
Elsewhere, whatever you want to say about the film, this really, really, really was not the intended response Eastwood wanted:
In fact, according to Bradley Cooper, this is how he he hoped people would respond to American Sniper:
Our whole idea was to do a character study about a soldier, and a soldier and a family, and what it’s like having to deal with the schizophrenic nature of having to jostle between a home life and being in theater. I think hopefully it could be a universal story.”
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