By Kristen Dematos
In Bradley Cooper’s newest film, “American Sniper,” the actor portrays former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. The movie is based on his memoir of the same title. Although the movie has been nominated for Picture of the Year in the Oscars, some people feel that the film portrayed Kyle in a more positive light than deserved.
The movie begins during Kyle’s childhood, with his dad explaining that as long as protection is being provided against the “bad guy,” violence is okay. Kyle grows up and joins the Navy SEALS and the film shows what he must go through to become one. During his training, he shows great shooting accuracy.
After the September 11th attacks, Kyle is sent to Iraq for the first of his eventual four tours. With pin-point accuracy, Kyle becomes the most successful sniper in the US Military with a count of 160 confirmed kills. The film follows him over seas and during his visits back home and shows his struggles both with the war and adjusting to family life when he was home.
In 2009, Kyle was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy with two Silver Stars and five Bronze Stars. Kyle helped to found Fitco Cares, a non-profit organization with a program intended to help veterans suffering from PTSD or war injuries. On February 2, 2013, Chris Kyle was shot and killed by a U.S.veteran, who he was helping, with his companion Chad Littlefield.
The movie was intended to depict Kyle’s life as a heroic one. However, some audience members feel the movie has also aggravated the debate over recent American military action.
Director Michael Moore recently stirred up controversy when he posted the following on Twitter: “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.”
This caused an uproar and many stood up for Kyle and fellow military snipers, including Sarah Palin, who said, “God bless our troops, especially our snipers.”
Discussion has also been brought up over Kyle’s past actions, including an unverifiable story where Kyle claims he went to Louisiana post-Katrina with a friend of his and they shot looters who were trying to break into homes. Another story that Kyle discussed in his book, happened shortly after he returned home.
Another story that has circulated alleges that shortly after his return home from his fourth and final tour, Kyle was approached by two men with guns who threaten to shoot him if he did not hand over his wallet and keys to his truck. Kyle pretended to reach into his truck in order to grab the keys, but instead, grabbed his gun and swiftly shot the two men.
A version of the story says that Kyle called the police to the scene and when they arrived, he had them speak to an official at the Department of Defense who helped him to evade any possible charges based on the fact that he was a decorated veteran.
The final controversy that has emerged from the film is on a much lighter note. Fans and critics have pointed out that in a scene where Cooper is speaking to his wife, he is holding a baby that is undeniably fake and unrealistic. Unlike the other controversies, this one has brought laughs and jokes.
Regardless of political stance, American Sniper is an incredible film filled with emotion, struggles and American pride. It’s no wonder the film has been nominated for six Academy Awards.