Sniper Chris Kyle has 150 confirmed kills, an American record by 41. Not including unconfirmed ones. American Sniper is a movie based on his experiences as a soldier in Iraq and at home- his difficulty was not only on the battlefield, but when he was at home trying to connect to normal life again.
The movie was intense to say the least; it was emotionally charged and painted a picture of exactly what it must have been like for this man. The way the soldiers talk is gritty, they are abrasive with the people they meet, and yes, they actually kill people. This film did not gloss over the violence encountered in war; when he killed a child, it was shown. When a man pushed a screwdriver through a boy’s leg, the audience saw it in full gore. When two of his comrades were killed,the full depiction shown.
It is unsettling that, despite these awful scenes, people seem encouraged to join the military to fight. I’m not saying that’s bad; going into the military is a noble pursuit. It’s a grand thing that people are willing to lay down their lives to defend their country, and those who do deserve respect. However, if people are inspired by this man’s story and this film to become a Marine, there is something not right.
This movie and this man’s story, if anything, should discourage people from joining the military. It shows the mental and physical trauma experienced by soldiers, and how they are changed irreversibly by their time on the war front. It is difficult to watch the main character struggle to cope with a normal setting at home, when he was feeling fine in an area of great conflict.
Also, some people seem to have their Islamophobic feelings enforced by this film because all of the sniper’s enemies seemed to be Muslim. With the relatively recent attacks on Paris by Muslim extremists, tension and fear has been up. However, we must not adopt this soldier’s view toward those he was fighting as our own. This is one man’s story, and at many points Chris Kyle refers to Iraqis as “savages.” Even though this generalization isn’t right, because not all Muslims are extremists, not all Iraqis want to kill Americans (it is very small percentages) – it is understandable that in a stressful war environment soldiers would adopt this view. That does not make it okay for us civilians to have this viewpoint – irrational hatred of a people is never right, and I don’t think I need to provide an explanation for why.
Other soldiers probably had different experiences than he did, met people in Iraq that just wanted to live in peace and create good lives for their families – just like most people here want to live.
Overall, this movie is only representative of one soldier’s story. His opinions and experiences are not representative of all soldiers in Iraq. This movie does, however, show some gruesome acts of violence experienced during war, and the effects on the soldiers that lived them. His story is not one that should be taken lightly, or encouraging people to join the military to fight blindly against a “no. 1 enemy.” Joining the military is a serious decision, that has lasting effects on the people who serve.