The film American Sniper has been a rousing success. It has remained atop of both the U.S. and Canadian box offices since its Jan. 16 release and has received five academy award nominations, including best picture.
But Bradley Cooper, who was nominated for best actor for his portrayal of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, doesn’t believe the public got the message that he and director Clint Eastwood were trying to deliver. He bases this assessment on the fact that the film has garnered so much criticism from some people who think it glorifies war or promotes anti-Islam sentiments.
The film was based on Chris Kyle’s memoir. Kyle is regarded by many as the most skilled sniper in U.S. military history, killing an estimated 160 people and earning the nickname: “The Legend.”
The movie alternates between Kyle’s life in war and his life at home during deployments. When at home, Kyle seems to become more emotionally detached. Cooper, who produced the film, was hoping it would show how veterans need more care and attention. He didn't want the conversation to turn towards the Iraq War and other partisan issues.
“The fact that it’s inciting a discussion that has nothing to do with vets - and it’s more about the Iraq War and what we did not do to indict those who decide to go to the war - every conversation in those terms is moving farther and farther away from what our soldiers go through, and the fact that 22 vets commit suicide each day,” Cooper said in an interview with Fresh Air’s Terry Gross. “The amount of people that come home is so much greater because of medical advancement and … we need to take care of them.”
The movie has sparked some arguments about its depiction of the Iraq War and Cooper admits that, “war is such an emotional subject, so maybe I was a fool to think it wouldn’t.”