The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947

THE GANNON KNIGHT

The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947

THE GANNON KNIGHT

The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947

THE GANNON KNIGHT

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February 23, 2024

‘American Sniper’ aims its sights at best picture award

I don’t agree with the idea of warfare and, as a result, I sometimes tend to avoid war films.

That being said, I attempt to enter each new movie without any prior conceptions. I have found that this method allows me to always judge a film based on its own merits.

I love Steven Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan,” one of the most realistically violent war films of recent memory.

Albeit extremely graphic, I still have a great amount of respect for “Private Ryan” because Spielberg makes it evident that the violence is a necessary component for helping the viewer to identify underlying themes.

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So, despite my reservations regarding war, I was still very excited to see “American Sniper,” a film that tells the story of one of the most decorated Navy Seals in U.S. history, Chris Kyle.

I entered with the knowledge that I would be seeing a lot of the violence, so then, my opinion of the film would depend highly on whether I felt the violence was necessary.

I can confidently say that “Sniper” is close to, if not on par with, “Private Ryan” and for all the right reasons, too.

“Sniper” makes it evident that the violence is being used in a way that gives it specific purposes for deriving meaning. We see a lot of Kyle’s confirmed kills, as well as the deaths of many of his comrades and they both affect Kyle.

It forces us to appreciate how with each kill, Kyle felt an increasing weight on his conscious that changed him.

Only through this method of total exposure would we be able to find a way to relate with Kyle on such a complex level. This is vital, because it is only once we are able to relate that we can begin to form an understanding for why his memories resulted in the passionate and rapidly growing hatred he had for his enemies.

Basically, we aren’t just shown what it was like to be Chris Kyle. We are invited to walk a mile in his combat boots, so to speak, in order to endure his reality in Iraq firsthand.

There was just one aspect of the film that put me off a bit, and it could end up being the difference between actually winning best picture and just getting nominated.

This film, at times, can come off as propaganda-like, most notably in how director Clint Eastwood decided to portray the Iraqi people – especially those darn bad guys. I suspect this is his age and, well, more old-fashioned values, seeping into some of his direction and decision making.

Eastwood’s bias isn’t necessarily forceful or overbearing, but it is identifiable and it can be misleading.

At a few points, I found myself literally scoffing out loud at some of the stereotypes that he chose to incorporate.

That aside, “Sniper”’s only real demand is that we come out with an appreciation for the countless citizens who have served, fought and died in wars like Operation Iraqi freedom.

Let’s face it, there is no doubt that the sacrifices they make in battle are what allow us the very freedom to speak our minds regarding the morality of the subject.

I sometimes tend to avoid war films, but when one comes along that is thought-provoking and honest, I tend to take notice and you should too.

 

CHARLES LEAR

[email protected]

 

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