We watched American Sniper before it was released. We get films before public release to judge for the awards. Eastwood has been one of my favorite directors.
I don’t like films that glorify war. They make it easier for citizens to support a war.
I am not a combat vet, but I feel that the film depicts the reality of war. The troops primary motivation is not political but to help their buddies survive and get back home.
This movie depicts the hell of battle and its effect on the warrior and what life after battle is like, especially after multiple deployments.
The film depicts the attraction of combat so well described by Chris Hedges in “War Is the Force that Gives Us Meaning”. Dangerous action gets adrenalin flowing and we become addicted to the adrenalin rush that civilian life lacks. Chris was drawn back to hell over and over.
The effect on Chris’ family is very well depicted. We must not forget military families after their wars are forgotten.
Depicting Chris’s helping fellow vets with PTSD is important. Only people that have been-there-done-that can relate to a fellow warrior. The rest of us can only listen and not comment if they want to talk about it.
My biggest disappointment was the end of the film. It seemed like 3 minutes of cheering, flag waving crowds watching the dead hero on his final journey. Up to this point I felt that Eastwood wanted the audience to make their own decisions about war and its effect. This second unit sequence seemed to go on and on to make sure that the audience went away with the belief that Chris was definitely a hero and not a victim of war himself.
Was this a recruiting film or an anti-war film? It is definitely a blockbuster that will bring war home to America or America into more war.
The other day I heard Clint say on TV that this is not a war glorifying film.
I sent this post to a Vietnam veteran friend for his comments on combat.
Here is what he replied:
What was most impressive about the killing, in training & in Nam, was the almost constant, gratuitous dehumanizing of the “enemy” in theory and practice.
Next is the reflexive use of violence for nearly all disputes and/or perceived threats. This becomes ever more the norm as time passes in combat duty.
The maiming, death and killing can only be stuffed down emotionally for so long…it surfaces in inappropriate ways…that is, unless one is a psychopath.
Let’s thank the people slamming Michael Moore for teaching us that all snipers are cowards if they kill Americans but all snipers are heroes if they are American.
Dan Seidenberg, US Army retired.