Missing the Mark with American Sniper
Dust swept against the ruins of homes. Places filled with joy and laughter months ago were now occupied by soldiers in fatigues. On the roof of a towering building sat a hoard of soldiers cowering behind the outcropping of bullet-holed cement. Chris Kyle layed down, stretched his fingers against the steel trigger guard of his sniper rifle, and took a deep breath. America's most deadly sniper, who would later recount his exploits in an autobiography, was set to neutralize a jihadi insurgent with the longest confirmed sniper shot in the history of the armed forces.
Kyle's story is retold through the movie American Sniper. Nominated for 6 Academy awards, the graphic war film is becoming a nationwide favorite.
American Sniper marches movie goers through a barrage of images. Kyle moves from an average cowboy who loves ranching, to a Navy Seal with incredible mettle, to the most lethal sniper in american history. The film highlights shots that created his armed services sniper record of 160 kills in 4 tours of duty in the Iraq war. The movie, directed by Clint Eastwood, focuses on the years Kyle served in the Middle East, from 1999 - 2009, briefly covering his time before and after enlistment. Although the movie is very well done, it told a story slightly different than Chris' autobiography, also titled American Sniper.
In the movie, it is evident that Kyle hates killing. He is portrayed as a man who doesn't want to end lives, but is obligated due to his role in the military. Chris Kyle wrote in his book that he sees no wrong in what he does and has no regrets. He makes it clear that he would do anything for his men, and if anyone seeks to kill American soldiers and infringe on freedom, they deserve to die. In his autobiography Kyle doesnít paint himself as a saint, but he also doesnít wrestle with his job as a sniper, at least the way the movie shows.
Many times throughout the book Chris expresses his love for God and the Bible. He clarifies the reasoning behind his view of being a good sniper, and says that ultimately God's blood covers his wrong doings. He doesnít feel the need to be justified for the men he killed in Iraq, because they were killed for the opposition to freedom and threat they posed to his friends.
Although the movie did mention Chris's faith a few times during the movie, it doesn't compare to the weight the book placed on his spiritual life. Chris wasnít afraid to express his love for Jesus and the Bible, notably at the end of his life. Sadly the movie did a poor job communicating the place Chrisí faith played in his story.
American Sniper another example of Hollywood taking-out the most redemptive parts of stories. From Louie Zamperini's Unbroken to Chris Kyle's American Sniper, the public is not given the full story, including the faith of these two American heroes. Although these movies are great ways to commemorate soldiers and their duty and sacrifice, Hollywood's discounting the God who makes it all possible is disingenuous.