The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


American Horror Story: Sniper


In a perfect world, Chris Kyle would be alive and on trial for war crimes and mass murder. In this world, “Selma” would be the top-grossing film of the decade, and Clint Eastwood would have faded into obscurity after he stopped starring in Westerns.

Unfortunately, the world is far from perfect and a movie based on Chris Kyle’s life and war crimes is the top grossing film of January, while “Selma”–the movie based on Martin Luther King, Jr., a man that the FBI feared because he was a mover and shaker who threatened unfair power structures–is being largely ignored by the media.

“American Sniper” is based on the life of an Islamaphobic sniper with 160 confirmed kills and over 200 unconfirmed kills, who is also noted to have wished he could have killed more people.

“Selma” is based on the events that took place in Selma, Alabama during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s and covers large portions of what made Martin Luther King, Jr., one of the greats of American history.

Guess which one the critics said was more patriotic.

At the beginning of “American Sniper”, there is a scene where Kyle (played by Bradley Cooper, who was so much better served as the voice of Rocket the raccoon in “Guardians of the Galaxy”) is on a mission and flashes back to hunting deer with his father in Texas.

This touching, all-American father-son moment is juxtaposed against the scene of Kyle casually murdering two Iraqi civilians–a woman who gave something to her young son, which (according to both the movie and Kyle’s biography) was a grenade.  This is one of the first problematic instances of the movie, and also the most dehumanizing: If the movie compares the murder of two Iraqi civilians to hunting deer, imagine the long-lasting real world impact that this is having on a community that is already at a high risk for hate crimes.

Without going into too much detail, this travesty of a film loves its animal metaphors. The average American–and most of the supporting characters in the film who are ‘good’–are portrayed (metaphorically speaking) as sheep. The ‘heroes’ like Chris Kyle–and I use this term with zero sincerity–are sheepdogs, protecting the dumb, unsuspecting sheep from the big bad wolves of the world, also known as anyone who is not American, Christian, or white.

Or at least that’s how ‘American Sniper’ has decided to portray the issue. The big bad wolves of the film are every Iraqi person who appears onscreen, whether they are innocent civilians or like the woman who picked up a grenade from her son’s corpse and tried to throw it at the soldiers who had killed him or the man who invited Kyle to his home for Eid, only to be revealed as “evil”  because he has a large stash of guns and bombs in his bedroom and is going to kill Kyle and lots of other ‘good’ guys.

In a perfect world, “American Sniper” would be seen for what it is: A film about a psychopathic mass-murderer who should have been on trial for war crimes. Instead, it is seen as a film about an All-American hero who is doing the world a favor by slaughtering Muslim people.

Do yourself a favor; watch “Selma” instead.

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