An “attempt to talk about the war in Iraq again and sell it to the Americans, or the story of a coward who kills women and children while staying under cover?”. In an editorial published on Wednesday, the Baltimore Sun summarizes the debate that has been rocking America for a week. The subject of controversy: “American Sniper”, Clint Eastwood’s latest film telling the story of a sniper during the war in Iraq.
A conflict that officially ended when the United States left the country at the end of 2011.
The feature film is based on the life and memoirs of sniper Chris Kyle, nicknamed “the Devil of Ramadi” in reference to one of the Iraqi cities where he was deployed. Officially credited with killing 160 targets, a record in US military history, Chris Kyle boasted of killing 255 people.
Clint Eastwood’s 34th feature film was rather well received by critics. He also convinced the Academy of the Oscars since he obtained six nominations for the next ceremony. The film is up for some of the most prestigious awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Bradley Cooper, Chris Kyle’s on-screen performer.
VIDEO. The trailer for “American Sniper”
The film breaks box office records
Commercially, American Sniper hit the nail on the head. Screening in a few theaters since Christmas, “American Sniper” raked in more than $107 million at the US box office in its first four days of release last weekend. This is the best start in history for a film released in winter, dislodging another film which caused its share of controversies, “The Passion of the Christ”.
The “American Sniper” controversy quickly left the “Cinema” pages to become a political subject. One of the first salvos was fired by the director of “Fahrenheit 9/11” Michael Moore who, without referring to the film, denounced on Twitter the “cowards” that are the snipers, referring to an uncle killed in this way during the Second World War.
Director Seth Rogen, himself recently on the front of the stage with his film “The interview that kills!”, also made a comparison on the social network that set fire to the powder. “American Sniper kinda reminded me of the movie shown at the end of Inglourious Basterds,” he wrote. At the end of “Inglourious Basterds” by Quentin Tarantino, Adolf Hitler attends the screening of a Nazi propaganda film about a German sniper called “The Pride of the Nation”.
Following the epidermal reactions caused by this tweet, the actor then wanted to clarify his remarks. “I just said something ‘kinda reminded me’ of something else. I liked American Sniper. I just said the movie reminded me of that scene from Tarantino.”
VIDEO. The faux-film directed by Quentin Tarantino for “Inglourious Basterds”
“You are not worthy to shine Chris Kyle’s combat boots”
It was enough for Sarah Palin, former candidate for vice-president in 2008 and muse of the very conservative Tea Party, to attack the “leftists of Hollywood” on Facebook. “As you fondle glistening plastic trophies that you exchange while spitting on the graves of the freedom fighters who allowed you to do so, know that the rest of America considers you not worthy of polish Chris Kyle’s combat boots.”
The former head of the Republicans in the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich went there with his advice to Michael Moore: “He should spend a few weeks with (the terrorist groups) EI and Boko Haram, he would appreciate American Sniper.
Since then, the controversy has ignited social networks, each ranging from its comment on the controversial personality of the soldier, the film and its historical veracity or the difficult return to the country of the “veterans”. Because the story of Chris Kyle ended tragically: he was killed on February 2, 2013 by a former soldier suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Like George W. Bush, Chris Kyle “saw the conflict in black and white”
In his autobiography, Texan Chris Kyle Texan, a former cowboy, professed his devotion to “God, his country, his family”. He also said he had no regrets for his actions. His only remorse: not having killed more of these “savages”. and white,” writes a former Iraqi, Paul Rieckhoff, in Variety magazine.
For him, if “American Sniper” does not show the complexity of all the political questions that relate to the war”, it “shows more than the others what the combat was to the average citizen.” On the other hand, the online magazine Vox considers that the film “remakes history” and “completely distorts the truth”.
What are the main stakeholders saying? Clint Eastwood himself, a notorious Republican but opposed to the war, had assured that he had made an apolitical film, like a western. Bradley Cooper referred to the film as a “character study”. The French will be able to form their own opinion on the question from February 18, the date of the theatrical release of the film.