1. Blanche Quizno says

    There seems to have been an uptick recently in the number of movies promoting US aggression and war violence – this one, and “Zero Dark Thirty” and the TV series “24” and I could go on all day listing them.

  2. RJW says

    Hollywood would have to be the most effective propaganda machine ever created, not only does it prepare the rest of the world for the American cultural assault, all those dumb foreigners who watch US TV programs and buy movie tickets actually pay for it. Brilliant!

  3. Kevin Kehres says

    I have no intention of seeing the movie despite its omnipresence in commercials. I am curious as to whether the story ends “happily” or as it really turned out — with Kyle being shot to death here in the US by a former Marine who was suffering from PTSD.

    I’m thinking that would be slightly more nuanced ending than the movie industry could stand.

  4. themann1086 says


    It’s based on his own autobiography which was written and published before his death, so…

  5. Ysidro says

    And here the right wing media machine was complaining that American Sniper was not getting any love from one of the award shows. I don’t really pay attention to any of them anymore after I realized that was as silly as caring who the prom king and queen of my local high school is when I’m almost 40 and have no children. Just no stake in the matter.

    But according to Faux News and the others, you’d think it was near treason. Even the mainstream entertainment news and morning shows were going on about “does Hollywood have an anti-military bias?”

    I almost gave myself a concussion from all the headdesking.

  6. Eric MacDonald says

    I am consistently impressed by Eastwood as a director, and find it hard to think that there is such jingoistic fervour in the film to justify the kinds of tweets highlighted here. Forbes has a good review of the film, and gives it high marks for moral sensitivity, an especially hard job for a director dealing with the kinds of values Kyle apparently grew up with. Whilst acknowledging a couple of major flaws in the film, the reviewer rates Bradley Cooper’s humanisation of the character of Kyle very highly indeed. The review ends with these words:

    Bradley Cooper’s humanization of a character who could’ve otherwise descended into caricature is one of his best performances, for sure. He sells you on the sincerity of the man, both in his beliefs and in his struggle with those beliefs in the midst of war. Portraying someone who always insists on his moral certainty in what he does, while showing us that growing doubt he never dares vocalize, is no small feat, but Cooper makes it look easy because he makes it look so real and human.

    Nobody on either side of the debate about the Iraq war should fail to find something valuable and true in this story, if they can perceive it as what it really is rather than through personal political filters.

    This is consistent with some other films that Eastwood has directed, such as “Letters from Iwo Jima” and “Mystic River.” That it raises the kinds of questions that might naturally arise in the life of a young man in the midst of war is straightforward Eastwood, who never wears his heart on his sleeve, but raises more questions about his own take on the world than is typical for most directors. I will make sure to see this film.

  7. Eric MacDonald says

    By the way, the syntax for the hyperlink (below) [a href=”” title=””] (using square brackets for the html arrows) is wrong. It does not have a [/a] to bring the link to a close, and no bracket to end the first part of the code. Also, ‘title=’ is not necessary, and the title should not be put in quotation marks. So, the syntax should be [a href=”url”] title — that is, the word in your text you want to link [/a].

  8. Colin Daniels says

    If the people in those tweets have actually watched the film they weren’t paying very much attention. As the quote in Eric’s post says, Cooper played the character quite sympathetically. There was a fair bit of American bravado but they also managed to show how ordinary muslims are also victims of the extremists.

    And to answer Kevin’s question, the film ends with Kyle preparing to take the vet out for a shooting session followed by a simple note that he was then killed by the very person he was trying to help.

    I thought it was quite thought-proviking, as many Eastwood films can be.

  9. John Morales says

    Colin Daniels:

    If the people in those tweets have actually watched the film they weren’t paying very much attention. As the quote in Eric’s post says, Cooper played the character quite sympathetically.

    Whether or not those tweeters were attentive*, I think the sympathetic portrayal of the protagonist is anything but an impediment towards the expressed jingoism.

    * I grant that I’m pretty sure they didn’t see the movie as a character study.

  10. Silentbob says

    (off topic)

    @ 8 Eric MacDonald

    No, you’ve just misunderstood. That’s a list of permitted HTML tags and attributes, not a guide to syntax. “title” is an optional attribute of the anchor (“a”) tag; it is not the text you wish to hyperlink.
    In other words, using square brackets

    [a href="URL" title="Some Place"]some text[/a]

    is correctly formatted.

    (/off topic)

  11. Eric MacDonald says

    Fine, Silentbob, those may be allowable alternatives, though I have never used them. But the stop at the end [/a] is not optional, and is not included in the syntax below.

  12. Eric MacDonald says

    John, I haven’t yet seen the film, but if the sympathetic portrayal of the character Kyle is an excuse for jingoism, it must at least be pointed out that Kyle develops a conscience about what he is doing, which does not easily sum up to “Let’s kill as many ragheads as we can.”

  13. Eric MacDonald says

    John (#10), the sympathy in this case regards the moral complexity of war, which (at least in the film) is the thing that is (so I am led to believe) emphasised. A person enters into war as a trained killer, all gung ho, and if it is one’s vocation, it seems the appropriate and patriotic thing to do. But to be faced with the moral ambiguity of war — an experience that many soldiers encounter, later refusing to speak of what they were forced to see and do — sensitively portrayed, should be an impediment to the expressed jingoism.

    But Eastwood is like that as a director. He does not tell you what to think — instead letting the actors and the story speak for themselves. In “Million Dollar Baby” he plays a character who helps the paralysed boxer to die, but he assures us that the film itself is not about assisted dying, and leaves it open whether he supports it or not (one suspects not). It is his refusal to make the story reflect a single moral or political vision that makes Eastwood such an impressively sensitive director. In “Gran Torino” there is no clear indication whether Eastwood himself is a redneck, or a tough, sympathetic character who can understand the complexities of being an immigrant. He let’s the story and his characters speak for themselves. I think this is impressive. He is not didactic. Many of his films are laden with moral ambiguity. It’s for the viewer to sort out the answers for themselves, and sometimes there are no clear answers (at least in the films themselves) to the moral conflicts that arise. Perhaps, as Isaiah Berlin thought, there are real moral conflicts to which there is no single answer. The conflict between patriotism and the killing of “enemies” may be one of them.

  14. John Morales says

    Eric, I cannot disagree with anything you’ve written @14, but I nonetheless still stand by my #10.

  15. Eric MacDonald says

    Fair enough, John. I certainly don’t want to disabuse your of your errors :-)! However, if fairness to Eastwood, it seems reasonable to state that he had no intention of arousing the kind of blinkered jingoism and racial hatred displayed in the tweets above.

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