Mido Hamada American Sniper

Bradley Cooper in American Sniper
Rating: 3.0/5.0

CHICAGO – I understand why they did it. But that doesn’t make it right to do.

In order to earn sign-off from Chris Kyle’s family and the U.S. Navy – and to appease the patriotic American public – “American Sniper” needed to make the U.S. military’s most lethal sniper nicer than he actually was and generalize a people as people you should hate.

Military men and women certainly make great sacrifices to protect us at home and we should be very appreciative. Some pay the ultimate price with their lives. But rather than being truly honest to the subject matter, the film glorifies it, sugarcoats the truth and creatively changes details to assure we see the hero Kyle was without most of the much darker anti-hero he also was.

Brad Cooper and Sienna Miller in American SniperNone of that was true and Eastwood ignored it in the film. Documentaries have a responsibility to be honest and objective. Why doesn’t this action/drama film? Kyle would still be seen as a hero even if Eastwood honestly and ethically exposed Kyle’s lies. Instead, the film loses credibility for being a true story that is only a half truth.


Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle in “American Sniper”.
Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Furthermore, while the film doesn’t overtly say or even necessarily intend to portray the thought that “all Iraqis are terrorists, ” which certainly isn’t true, it feels that the film is primarily showing that. It does attempt to counter that implied perception by taking you behind the scenes of one Iraqi local.

Mido Hamada in American SniperThe film portrays this Iraqi father as having a heart and being afraid of his own people as much as the Americans who hate him. But still, the majority of the film makes you feel like “these are bad people” and “you should be afraid of them”. Some of them are bad people – like you will find within any group of people – but the film fails to differentiate extremists you should fear and hate from the everyday people you shouldn’t.

You could just as easily zero in on a group of Americans who are equally bad people, but the agenda of this film is to illustrate an American hero, make you feel sorry for him and hate his enemy. The danger of a film focusing like this is it lacks objectivity and instead resorts to one-sided propaganda.


Brad Cooper (left) as Chris Kyle and Sienna Miller as Taya in “American Sniper”.
Image credit: Keith Bernstein

The film’s lethal oversight is in what is left out. While no one is a perfect man or woman and Chris Kyle certainly is no exception, you don’t get a true sense of who he was. The film typically gives him the perfect, calm line to say to his wife and he never misses a shot in war. This man is good, but he’s not flawless and the film glazes over his many imperfections.

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