"American Sniper" shares a powerful story but unfairly portrays Iraq in the process. Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service
“American Sniper” shares a powerful story but unfairly portrays Iraq in the process. Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service

This past year, I’ve watched more movies than I ever had in my previous 18 years of existence. I am not sure if that’s necessarily a good thing considering the amount of money I’ve spent on all those tickets might be more than a semester’s worth of textbooks. However, I am more concerned about a certain trend I’ve noticed in the movies this past year. Many movies shared a compelling true or politically relevant story as a source of awareness and entertainment.

Of course, the main characters are always the good guys, but as for the villains, the go-to plan is to fill that spot with foreigners. How unfair is that? For some reason, it’s acceptable for Hollywood to portray other countries however they feel like, but then it’s a surprise when it backlashes. I just don’t understand the purpose of creating movies that deliberately attack other nations, beliefs and values.

Maybe it’s entertaining for some. For example, “The Interview” with James Franco and Seth Rogen definitely had intentions of being funny. Although I agree there were some funny scenes, the overall humiliation of North Korea as a country was just too cringe-worthy. I am not surprised there was controversy about releasing the movie to theaters all around the country. Of course, North Korea was not too pleased about the idea of assassinating its leader, King Jong-un. Not surprisingly, this all backlashed when North Korea allegedly hacked Sony’s computer systems, releasing private information. It’s mind-blowing that many people found this movie acceptable.

As for a more serious and inspiring story, the movie “Unbroken” revolved around the Japanese prisoner of war camps during World War II, telling following the story of Louis Zamperini. This movie has actually become one of my favorites.

Zamperini’s story is so inspiring. His braveness and strength helped him surpass all the torture he was put through.  Although director Angelina Jolie did a beautiful job, the movie comes across very one-sided.

At the time of the war, the Japanese felt as though they were doing the right thing. They were following orders, and the country’s goal was to be victorious, just like any other nation at the time. In the movie, we really didn’t get the opportunity to understand Japan’s intentions. Instead, the only thing that I got out of the movie about Japan was that the camp leaders were forceful and brutal. I can only imagine what Japanese veterans would think about the film. Whether they feel remorse or feel shorted because of the biased one-sided story this movie portrayed, I can only say it’s unfair.

“American Sniper,” the story of Chris Kyle, a soldier who felt obligated to support his country and fellow soldiers, shared another inspiring story. Leaving behind his life back in America, Kyle was dedicated to saving lives, while putting his own life in jeopardy. Director Clint Eastwood did a great job spreading awareness of Kyle’s story. The film increased my appreciation for all the soldiers who sacrifice their lives for the safety of our country. As great as this movie was, I couldn’t get my mind off the stereotypical portrayal of Iraq. It seems like in every war movie, Iraq is portrayed as a dry, barren battlefield, when, in fact, it is filled with rich culture and beautiful landmarks like every other country.

I understand movies are not created for everyone’s satisfaction, but they can often be misguiding. Many stories are biased, stereotypical and just plain mean, but as the audience, we should take all that in consideration before we jump to conclusions. In most cases, these movies are entertaining and appealing, but all too predictable. That’s Hollywood for you.

I am student at University of North Carolina at Charlotte. I am a current Marketing major. Apart from writing for NinerTimes, I enjoy spending my time swimming, playing volleyball, go on adventurous trips, and most importantly spending time with friends and family. I spend a lot of my time helping the community by joining non-profit organizations and volunteering. My biggest goal is to have a huge positive influence and be considered a historical idol someday.


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