I had reservations about watching American Sniper. I worried that I wouldn’t enjoy it because of American propaganda, but I got lucky; this film has a lot more wrong with it than skewed ideology.
No Female Soldiers/ Soldiers of Colour
Women make up 14.5% of the active-duty force (according to CNN), while African American soldiers make up around a quarter. So with almost half of soldiers on active duty being made up of women and African Americans, you would think any modern war film worth its salt would try to accurately represent that, wouldn’t you? Well, you would be wrong.
Men are at four times more risk of suicide than women. Some psychologists argue that this is because of hegemonic masculinity, which demands a “tough guy” front from men, who are conditioned from an early age to not talk about their feelings, leading to them not being able to ask for help later in life.
I found it completely irresponsible, that this film portrayed Chris Kyle (who seems to be suffering from classic symptoms of post-traumatic stress), as some sort of “strong silent type”, who’s miraculously cured by a 20 second scene with a psychiatrist who tells him simply to “help others” in order to recover. I don’t know whether this is Clint Eastwood’s old school portrayal of masculinity, or whether the problem comes from the autobiography that the film is based on.
Portrayal of Iraqis
Opens with “call to prayer”, which is normally played in Mosques.
Iraqis are referred to as “savages” by American soldiers.
Characters proclaim: “We’re not fighting for this dirt”
Brutal, unnecessary violence from “bad guys” (such as the scene where the enemy leader uses a drill on a child and then shoots both the child and the father), whereas American soldiers are depicted as just “doing their jobs”/”protecting themselves”.
The film depicts roughly 1 American soldier dying to 6-10 Iraqis. In actual fact, during the whole war, 4,500 American soldiers have been killed, and 450,000 Iraqis, meaning that a more realistic ratio might be 1 American soldier dying for every 100 Iraqi deaths.
-Comedy baby doll, completely obviously fake.
-Sound, in general. Car noise random and too loud.
-Doesn’t hold together.
-Passage of time only shown by size of children (not by any changes in adult actors)
-Only one female character.
-Only one black actor.