The American Sniper/Zero Dark Thirty Issue

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  • AMG
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    #174164

    After the increasing uproar that American Sniper is causing, as well as the debate that came as a result of Zero Dark Thirty, why is terrorism the one ‘taboo’ that people cannot accept on film?

    After the issues with The Interview, many people sided with the idea that it should be released because it is ‘artistic expression’, yet that same belief isn’t shared with the two aforementioned films? Instead, they get ridiculed in the media because people think it condones either torture, or killing extremists. But the same people were ok with the fictional killing of a country’s leader for the sake of ‘comedy’? 

    Is the fact that both American Sniper & Zero Dark Thirty are based on true events, and The Interview is an attempt at comedy which is fictitious the reason behind the massive discrepancy? Or are the issues within the Middle East too sensitive a topic to be made on film controversy-free?

    Would be interesting to hear peoples thoughts on this.

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    AviChristiaans
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    #174166

    Had this debate countless times these couple of weeks.
    I understand, and i feel the same way.

    The war on terror (and America’s participation in the war) is a highly sensitive issue for million. Even billions. Yes, just like me, many people feel the entire war and the killing happening over there shouldn’t be happening. Whether it’s killing of civilians or killing of people linked to terrorism. Or killing of soldiers. Death is death. People are against it. Many are not.

    My problem though: Zero Dark Thirty was ridiculed for attempting to suggest America was using torture techniques on people. Either people didn’t believe it, or they didn’t want to believe/hear it. Just a year later, it was confirmed torture was happening/did happen. So what was the fuss about? Why tarnish a great film over what you want to believe/hear or not?

    American Sniper: War is ugly. It has always been. Death, pride, patriotism are the order of the day. People now are ridiculing and tarnishing this film because of the way death, the war, and muslim civilians are being portrayed. I concur, the gloating, enjoying manner in which Kyle does his job is off putting. But ONE American soldier’s actions in the war is not the total reflection of it all. Whether you agree with the war on terror shouldn’t be the basis on which you as a critic review a film. It is NOT condoning of barbarick killing of people. It is a film based on one soldiers life in the army. It was his job. Just like any soldier goes to war to defend his/her country.

      
    I have said it time and time again. Hollywood had the nerve to endorse and use The Interview as its poster child for American cinema, freedom of speech and fighting against terrorism. Like what in the actuall f****ck! That gross, propoganda filled nonsense was fought for and hailed, but a true story on an American soldier who at the end of the day was just doing his job,  is not considered cinema, and shouldn’t have been made?

    What’s next? Seth Rogen raping and killing The Queen of England? And the British should just see the humor in it because it is satire and freedom of speech? Or a film about killing King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. Angering billions of muslims and they will have to deal because America says it is satire, and their definition of freedom of speech.

    Where do you draw the line?

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    AMG
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    #174167

    Exactly.

    The idea that Zero Dark Thirty promoted the idea of torture being a successful tool was a gross misunderstanding of the film. At no point did the film show real results came from those tactics. If anything, it showed how unuseful it truly was, and shone a light on that area of the actions of the US in the Middle East.

    Maybe that’s why people take offense to Zero Dark Thirty & American Sniper. It doesn’t show a clear cut case of USA = good guy, Middle Eastern Terrorists = bad guys. If anything, it shines a real bad light on US tactics and protocol in their actions.

    SPOILERS FOR AMERICAN SNIPER AHEAD – if you do not know the full story of Chris Kyle, then maybe skip this next bit if you intend on watching the film without spoilers. (highlight to show text)

    In American Sniper, and the life of Chris Kyle, the REAL bad guy isn’t a terrorist, and it isn’t anyone we see when the film centres in on Kyle in action. The true bad guy is an American on home soil, who ends up killing Kyle and his colleague
     
    [END OF AMERICAN SNIPER SPOILER]

    In Zero Dark Thirty, the actions used by the US weren’t successful for so long. It shows the US in a bad light.

    Here in the UK, these controversies aren’t magnified anywhere near to the extent which I have seen in US articles and websites. 

    With The Interview, at the end, I’m presuming – I have no intent to see the film – that they end up killing Kim Jong Un. That shows the US in a ‘good light’ as a great nation, who take it upon themselves to perfectly do what they set out to. I do not wish to offend any Americans who read this, it is just a thought as to why The Interview has gotten away controversy free – minus the leak – in comparison to the angst there is with American Sniper and Zero Dark Thirty.

    On the other hand, maybe its because The Interview is a comedy, and so people can clearly tell that it isn’t going out of its way to condone any behaviours shown, which the everyman may not believe about the serious dramas of Zero Dark Thirty and American Sniper. If it’s a comedy, how can anything be serious. It’s Seth Rogen & James Franco, who would take them or what they say that seriously. In comparison, Clint Eastwood and Kathryn Bigelow MUST be serious and based completely on the truth, there is no artistic license being used? Thus causing the uproar with these two films. 

     

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    FreemanGriffin
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    #174168

    The problem is that we are still calling it the “war on terror” rather than what it is: a “war of terror” – and we are the terrorists. Both of these films are extremely manipulative propaganda films that teach us that our policies are correct and just when they are not. It DOES condone the killing of innocent human beings, and DOES take the point of view that “we” are the good guys and how dare others try to defend themselves from our agression. The gloating off-putting rhetoric of Kyle in American Sniper is simptomatic of a distinctly american male view that dehumanizes other human beings as being less worthy of getting to live their lives than americans. “Patriotism” that tramples on civil liberties, excuses criminal behavior, allows our politicians to commit treason and other impeachable offenses including torture and extrajudicial killings, blah blah blah – so, yes, this movie is well edited, has great sound mixing and editing, but I insist that great films have to have both content and style.

    I think what bothers me most is film critics who pretend that right-wing rabid films such as this one are somehow “apolitical”, yet progressive left films are always “controversial”.

    The “it’s his job” defense is indefensible. Everyone has to think for themselves and not do what they are told. The german people did what they were told, were just “doing their job”, and over 6 million people lost their lives. I have always hated this excuse that is used to do criminal behaviors, sanctioned.

    I am against these films being made. I understand that upsets people since we allegedly have “free speech” in this country (this is simply not true – speech costs money, especially expensive movies). Do we have narrative films that are against drone killings? Against our criminal U.S. foreign policy? No, we have documentaries that preach to the converted and don’t get seen by the people who need to “unlearn” all the nonsense our mainstream media foists upon them.

    The issue with ZDT may have been the torture issue, but for me it was also about extrajudicial killings, death penalty, and our nutty unproductive “war on terror” that leads to more and more terrorism on both sides. I don’t consider it a “great” film – a well made propaganda film that keeps us thinking that our foreign policies are a-o.k. when they are not.

    American Sniper is a piece of junk. Yes, Bradley Cooper has some good moments, but the supporting roles are not well developed and I don’t enjoy watching a serial killer who thinks he’s justified and gets paid to do it by our corrupt vile U.S. government. Snark away, be your disagreeable selves if you have to, but I know in my heart that I am right about this.

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    babypook
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    #174169

    I absolutely DETEST both of these films.

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    DominicCobb
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    #174170

    Please don’t compare American Sniper to Zero Dark Thirty. ZDT is actually good.

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    AMG
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    #174171

    Please don’t compare American Sniper to Zero Dark Thirty. ZDT is actually good.

    I’m not comparing them in terms of quality. I loved Zero Dark Thirty, and while I like American Sniper, it is nowhere near as good.

    This is comparing the backlash that both films faced for similar reasons, and comparing it to other films like The Interview.

    Surely it’s more offensive, it terms of quality, to compare the film to The Interview.

     

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    K-Hole
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    #174172

    Well-made propaganda is still propaganda. Just ask Leni Riefenstahl. Kathryn Bigelow and Clint Eastwood, who make films supported by the U.S. military-industrial complex and/or the CIA, are two of the more successful propagandists working in film today.

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    K-Hole
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    #174173

    Seth Rogen        âœ”

    @Sethrogen

    American Sniper kind of reminds me of the movie that’s showing in the third act of Inglorious Basterds.

    11:05 AM – 18 Jan 2015

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    AMG
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    #174174

    But are Zero Dark Thirty and American Sniper propaganda though? Both aren’t 100% pro-American action in the face of terrorism. They both show the major pitfalls that have happened in real life. Just because it is a film taken from the view of America, and is well received by the Oscars and at the box office so they access a large section of the western public, does not make it propaganda, surely? 

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    K-Hole
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    #174175

    But are Zero Dark Thirty and American Sniper propaganda though? Both aren’t 100% pro-American action in the face of terrorism. They both show the major pitfalls that have happened in real life. Just because it is a film taken from the view of America, and is well received by the Oscars and at the box office so they access a large section of the western public, does not make it propaganda, surely? 

    Kind of a broad generalization to say these films are “taken from the view of America,” isn’t it? Does America have only one point of view? More like these films are designed to propagate a particular point of view, hence, they are propagandistic. The real Chris Kyle was a racist who called Iraqis “cowards” and “savages” and lamented that he had not killed more of them. Eastwood’s film sanitizes that racist point of view and turns him into an American hero. The film also fails to question whether Americans had any right to invade Iraq, a country that had nothing at all to do with 9/11 and did not have weapons of mass destruction, contrary to the false claims of the Bush administration. That’s why it is propaganda.

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    babypook
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    #174176

    Exactly.

    The idea that Zero Dark Thirty promoted the idea of torture being a successful tool was a gross misunderstanding of the film. At no point did the film show real results came from those tactics. If anything, it showed how unuseful it truly was, and shone a light on that area of the actions of the US in the Middle East.

    Maybe that’s why people take offense to Zero Dark Thirty & American Sniper. It doesn’t show a clear cut case of USA = good guy, Middle Eastern Terrorists = bad guys. If anything, it shines a real bad light on US tactics and protocol in their actions.

    SPOILERS FOR AMERICAN SNIPER AHEAD – if you do not know the full story of Chris Kyle, then maybe skip this next bit if you intend on watching the film without spoilers. (highlight to show text)

    In American Sniper, and the life of Chris Kyle, the REAL bad guy isn’t a terrorist, and it isn’t anyone we see when the film centres in on Kyle in action. The true bad guy is an American on home soil, who ends up killing Kyle and his colleague
     
    [END OF AMERICAN SNIPER SPOILER]

    In Zero Dark Thirty, the actions used by the US weren’t successful for so long. It shows the US in a bad light.

    Here in the UK, these controversies aren’t magnified anywhere near to the extent which I have seen in US articles and websites. 

    With The Interview, at the end, I’m presuming – I have no intent to see the film – that they end up killing Kim Jong Un. That shows the US in a ‘good light’ as a great nation, who take it upon themselves to perfectly do what they set out to. I do not wish to offend any Americans who read this, it is just a thought as to why The Interview has gotten away controversy free – minus the leak – in comparison to the angst there is with American Sniper and Zero Dark Thirty.

    On the other hand, maybe its because The Interview is a comedy, and so people can clearly tell that it isn’t going out of its way to condone any behaviours shown, which the everyman may not believe about the serious dramas of Zero Dark Thirty and American Sniper. If it’s a comedy, how can anything be serious. It’s Seth Rogen & James Franco, who would take them or what they say that seriously. In comparison, Clint Eastwood and Kathryn Bigelow MUST be serious and based completely on the truth, there is no artistic license being used? Thus causing the uproar with these two films. 

     

     

    I spent some time deciding whether to respond.

    I take issue with what you have ‘blanked’ in that Spoiler Alert paragraph, but i’m not going to say much in here. If you’re interested, please write to me. Or, if you’re prepared to spend a great deal of time in a Library looking at independent unbiased stats and research about this, I’d be happy to help. I believe you mean well.

    Soldiers, are used more for experimental this and that than even, poverty-stricken, desperate third-world, homeless, and dementia patients. The thinking is, it’s “over there”; we’ll call it “this”, since hardly anyone will take a look at it in any detail. Plus, many recruits firmly believe, that the “authorities” would never lie to them.

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    Tye-Grr
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    #174177

    [quote=”agloster94″]But are Zero Dark Thirty and American Sniper propaganda though? Both aren’t 100% pro-American action in the face of terrorism. They both show the major pitfalls that have happened in real life. Just because it is a film taken from the view of America, and is well received by the Oscars and at the box office so they access a large section of the western public, does not make it propaganda, surely? 

    Kind of a broad generalization to say these films are “taken from the view of America,” isn’t it? Does America have only one point of view? More like these films are designed to propagate a particular point of view, hence, they are propagandistic. The real Chris Kyle was a racist who called Iraqis “cowards” and “savages” and lamented that he had not killed more of them. Eastwood’s film sanitizes that racist point of view and turns him into an American hero. The film also fails to question whether Americans had any right to invade Iraq, a country that had nothing at all to do with 9/11 and did not have weapons of mass destruction, contrary to the false claims of the Bush administration. That’s why it is propaganda.[/quote]

    This is an excellent point. And although I’m fine with films taking artistic license (‘Foxcatcher’ for example, which I think is an excellent film), I do think that the character choice made for Chris Kyle is far less interesting than the actual guy, who would have been much more interesting to study than the generic “tortured hero” we get in Eastwood’s film.

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    johnnygc
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    #174178

    Well-made propaganda is still propaganda. Just ask Leni Riefenstahl. Kathryn Bigelow and Clint Eastwood, who make films supported by the U.S. military-industrial complex and/or the CIA, are two of the more successful propagandists working in film today.

    I haven’t seen American Sniper, so I cannot comment on Eastwood, but I don’t think, it doesn’t even cross my mind, that what Bigelow did through Zero Dark Thirty can be considered, by any means, propaganda. She was telling a story. Also, the controversy surrounding this film came with the torture scene, which actually showed the US in a not so flattering light. It was a film about the arrest of a war criminal that did not ignore the use of incorrect means to achieve the results desired.

    Leni Riefenstahl, on the other hand, really did very well-made propanda for the Nazi Party. And there’s no denying of that. I’m sure you don’t think Triumph of the Will and Zero Dark Thirty are the same type of film? She was a really talented woman, too bad she wasted her talents in this kind of projects and that her career never recovered from these hideous mistakes. Perhaps it was for the best. 

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    Guest2014
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    #174179

    I absolutely DETEST both of these films.

    Interesting how things can turn on a dime in the space of a weekend.  I believe AS is nothing but a rahrah film for the US military, as somebody on Raw Story.com tweeted, “American Sniper’ is a big hit for Americans who fantasize about shooting Arabs but are afraid to go where Arabs shoot back.”

    I don’t even care about Boyhood winning BP anymore.  Now it’s ABAS.  Anything but American Sniper. 

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