‘American Sniper’ in shades of gray

“American Sniper” is a sensational movie. It’s a gripping story that pulls you in and takes you on a two-hour thrill ride. Bradley Cooper delivers an exceptional acting performance, and the movie is deserving of its many Oscar nominations.

American Sniper is a recently released movie directed by Clint Eastwood. Cooper portrays Chris Kyle, a real-life Navy SEAL that served four tours of duty. The movie is generally based on Kyle’s life, although the story arc is created for the movie.

The movie has quickly become a topic of debate after Michael Moore ridiculously called Kyle, the real-life American sniper on whom the movie is based, a coward. In reality, he put the label on all military snipers.

Moore tweeted, “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.”

Further adding fuel to the fire was Seth Rogen, who tweeted, “American Sniper kind of reminds me of the movie that’s showing in the third act of Inglorious Basterds.”

The movie he’s referring to is a fictional Nazi propaganda film, seen within the 2009 film “Inglorious Basterds.”

Rogan’s tweet was picked up by multiple news organizations, and he was faced with a great amount of criticism in response.

He later clarified that he enjoyed the movie and tweeted: “I wasn’t comparing the two. Big difference between comparing and reminding. Apples remind me of oranges. Can’t compare them, though.”

Rogen’s tweet was a tongue-in-cheek comment about the movie, but the subsequent controversy and politicization of his words are truly out of touch with America.

Many have responded to the film with a sense of patriotism and pride for dear, old America. The problem with this is that if someone made a gripping war movie about a soldier from Kazakhstan with the same writing, acting and budget, people would walk out of the theater having a great amount of respect for Kazakhstan, labeling it an incredible movie.

Others have decided to call into question the man upon whom the movie was based.

“In Kyle’s version of the Iraq war, the parties consisted of Americans, who are good by virtue of being American, and fanatic Muslims whose ‘savage, despicable evil’ led them to want to kill Americans simply because they are Christians,” wrote Laura Miller, in an an article published on salon.com.

Eastwood didn’t make the movie so people could thump their chests and chant “USA,” just as he didn’t make it for people to be hung up on the Iraqi war or Kyle. He made a film that addresses the issue in shades of gray, even though many have chosen to see it in black and white.

“Can you praise it without being called a fascist? Can you criticize it without being branded a commie?” wrote Jon Eig, reporter for the Huffington Post.

Like so many other things in our society, the movie has devolved into a shouting match, as people are trumpeting their point of view as loudly as they can just to drown out their opposition.

Instead of being a fantastic piece of entertainment, it has become an unnecessary political issue that continues to drive a wedge between Americans.

The reality is that the movie is in middle ground, like most controversial matters. As much as both sides want to make this a left versus right issue, the world operates in the gray area.

If both sides can’t agree to look at the movie for its entertainment value and nothing more, they should at least look at it with reasonable lenses.

Someone should be able to question Kyle without being called un-American. There is nothing in this world that is deserving to be above reproach and by many accounts, it seems as though there’s ground to question some aspects of his life. This, however, doesn’t mean someone is disrespectful or hates America and the military.

On the other hand, enjoying the movie and taking pride in Kyle’s military service doesn’t make someone ignorant, racist or any of the other labels that are being thrown around.

Refusing to let anyone speak out about these things is what brings us much closer to the Nazi regime that Rogen referenced, and I believe we can all agree that’s something from which we want to stay away.

But seriously, it’s a movie. Just enjoy it.

Authors
Top