TheInaccuracy of a Historical Film
Historicalfilms depict the accounts of what happened in the past. Some of thesefilms bring out accurate happenings of the past events while othersgive inaccurate accounts. For this, I picked an award winningAmerican film called AmericanSniper, directedby Clint Eastwood. The film based its story on the life of anAmerican soldier called Chris Kyle who worked in the special forcecalled The SEAL. Some bits of his history are accurately portrayed inthe film. From an early life, the film correctly describes withaccuracy how Chris was protective to his family. He always protectedhis brother when other kids tried to bully him. His father is alsoseen advising him to always protect the family. Kyle’s says, “Wealways protect our own…if someone tries to bully your brother youhave my permission to finish it.” At the time of his adulthood, theAmericans were at war with the Iraqi. The mysterious bombing of theWorld Trade Center by terrorists then made Kyle join the army so asto protect “what was theirs” as depicted in the film. This,however, was not the condition in the actual account as Kyle alwaysaspired to work in the military. It was in the army that Kyle becameone of the most lethal snipers, and was deployed to fight in the Iraqwar. Most of the accounts of the movie are accurate. However, somebits of the film contain inaccurate accounts of the real Kyle and ofthe actual war.
BradleyCooper, the person who acted the character of Chris Kyle, depictsChris to be a meek, diffident man who disliked talking about hiseminence as a legend. This is, however, inaccurate because the actualChris Kyle was purportedly willing to trade on his reputation andeven aggrandize the story of his successes. The accounts of hischaracter as put in the movie are unreal about the existent Kyle.After the war in 2009 for example, Chris Kyle developed from being ananonymous killer in the war against the American enemies to being acelebrity who featured on the front page of Soldier of FortuneMagazine in the United States (Duckworth N.P). He also appeared insome chat shows where he was being interviewed on his experiences atthe war, and he would proudly share his successes and pride. Thisclearly brings out the inaccuracy that the movies put on Kyle’scharacter. In real life, Kyle also stated that the biggest feeder ofa legend was himself. He also established a military training companyof his own and featured in a reality TV show known as Stars EarnStripes. These accounts of Kyle’s real life and what Cooper depictshim to be in the movie don’t rhyme thus giving a clear indicationof inaccuracy in the film.
Inthe opening bit of the film, Bradley Cooper portrays Chris Kyle withhis marvels training on an Iraq street before the Marine convoyentered the street. In the sequence, an Iraqi woman, dressed inMuslim clothes is seen coming from a building, and handing to a youngboy a Russian-model RKG-3 grenade, which is usually used to destroytankers. The woman later asks the child to move towards the Marineconvoy. At this point, the film turns to a tense moment as Kyle hasto come up with a decision on whether to shoot the young boy or not.During the real war, there was no young boy at the same incidence asthe one depicted in the movie. There was only the adult woman (Kyle &Scott 24). The movie also exaggerates the character of the womanwhere she is depicted as being eviler by sending her son to meet hisdeath. The real Kyle noted that there was no such incidence and thatthe woman did the action by herself with no assistance of a child.Also, the type of grenade that the woman produced in the movie wasdifferent from the one presented in the actual scene. The real Kylenoted that the weapon produced by the woman during the actualincidence was a Chinese grenade which is much smaller and may have nosignificant effect on a tanker as opposed to the large anti-tankRussian grenade used in the film.
Thefilm depicts Kyle as a soldier who is frequently tormented by theactions that he makes in the field. These accounts are inaccurate andhave only been developed in the movie. In actual scenario, Kyle wrotein his autobiography that he fought the evil. He referred the Iraqiterrorists as savages, despicable and evil. The real Kyle also notedthat he even had the desire to kill more and that he loved what hedid, never regretted of every decision that he made and that if hisfamily were in no need of him, he would go back and fight theterrorist with zeal. He even went ahead to describe the killings thathe made as fun (Courtney Duckworth, par. 11). This accounts of thereal Kyle entirely differ with what is depicted in the movie thusbringing out the historical inaccuracy of the film. The portions ofthe film where Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) shows how tormented he wasafter killing the terrorists was highly praised in early reviews forbringing out the emotional suffering that most military men and womenexperience. The emotions might have been placed in the scenes of themovie with purpose but with a historical comparison of the realsituation, the feelings expressed are inaccurate and erroneouslyrepresent what Kyle went through and what he felt and stood forbecause he, in point of fact, loved the decisions he made.
InKyles’s autobiography, Mustafa who was an Iraqi sniper was onlymentioned in a passive manner. He was not significantly accounted forin the book as he was only referred to in a single paragraph and hisactions towards Kyle were not of very much importance. In the film,however, Mustafa was depicted as one who was significantly targetedby Kyle. He is described as a Syrian national who won an Olympicmedal and fights for the Sunni rebels at a place known as Fallujah.He also fought for the Shia Madhi army. The film inaccurately putMustafa as Kyle’s chief antagonist and is pictured in multiplescenes of the AmericanSniper.In real life, Kyle notes that he only faced Mustafa at minimalinstances and that he was no significant threat. Kyle’s mission inthe war was to fight terrorists in general and not to major only in afew individuals such as Mustafa. The film therefore inaccuratelyinvents the terrorist sniper who works for some rebellious factions.According to the actual Kyle, Mustafa had no direct interactions withhim as depicted in the movie. Such therefore dishonors the originalstory (Dobie 13) as brought out by Kyle himself and it, therefore,brings out inaccurate accounts of the film which make the movie aquestionable representation of history as it was in the realscenario.
Inreal life, Chris Kyle was an individual who lied a lot. In hisautobiography, Kyle purported to have snipped at looters duringHurricane Katrina, and killed two carjackers in Texas and thereforeportrays himself as a vigilante who disliked seeing evil in thesociety. He also claimed to have punched the former governor ofMinnesota, Jesse Ventura, in the face. He alleges that the incidencehappened when the former governor denigrated Navy SEALs and engagedin a fight with him. These claims were, however, wrong and theparagraph which mentioned the fight between Kyle and the formergovernor got him sued (Mooney N.B). In the film, however, ClintEastwood fails to picture Kyle as a liar and ignores most of his darksides. Failure to include such events of a major character in ahistorical film makes it inaccurate (Burling 21). In fact, such afailure makes the film one of the most mendacious among thoseproduced in the same year. When a film fails to bring out thedifferent sides of its character for example by erasing the fact thata major character was a fabricator, then the entire film can beviewed as being inaccurate or deceitful (Duckworth N.P). A filmdepicting historical events of an individual, event or nation shouldgive a clear picture of how the events unfolded and all thecharacteristics of the historical events with no intentionalexclusion of any part that may be indicative of what is being filmed.
Thefilm also suggested that the Iraq war developed in response to thebombing of the World Trade Center in the United States. It also putsthat the attack aggravated Kyle`s decision to join the military. Thisis, however, inaccurate and was only developed as a method of gettingaudiences to unequivocally back Kyle’s deeds in the movie. The filmwas majorly designed to make the audience believe that Kyle moved toIraq as a military personnel included in the war so as to avenge theSeptember eleventh attacks (Hein 14). The movie snips out events fromwhen he was watching the attacks on him serving in Iraq. The actualaccount from his book suggests that Chris Kyle always aspired to workin the military and serve his nation, but the film falsely suggeststhat the bombing of the World Trade Center pushed Kyle into becominga soldier. The movie, therefore, tries to suggest that there is alink between the two events which according to the autobiography isuntrue.
Beforejoining the military, Kyle had a career as a Rodeo. He worked inTexas (Courtney Duckworth, par. 5). His career, however, ended whenhe grievously injured his wrist and ribs. He then tried to apply fora military job, but his application was declined due to the injuries.The first attempt to join the army was not depicted in the movie.Also, the film shows that he joined the SEALs straight away which isnot true.
Althoughthe movie was initially a hit immediately after its release, thereare numerous inaccuracies which arise after comparing the actual Kylefrom his autobiography and the character Kyle, acted by BradleyCooper in the film. An analysis of the film creates a risingcriticism contrary to its unsophisticated depiction of the combat inIraq and the ambiguous stand on Kyle’s character.
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Duckworth,Courtney. "How Accurate Is American Sniper? We’ve SeparatedFact from Fiction." SlateMagazine.N.p., 2015. Web. 19 May 2016.
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Kyle,Chris, Scott McEwen, and Jim DeFelice. AmericanSniper: The autobiography of the most lethal sniper in US militaryhistory.W. Morrow, 2012.
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