Navy Seal speaks after American Sniper showing
April 19, 2015 | Alyson Malinger | Indiana Daily Student
Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper” depicts Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle’s exploits on the battlefield in Iraq and his life at home. On Friday, the film was shown as part of IMU Late Night, a weekly free program provided by Union Board.
Former Navy SEAL Curtis Hall came to the screening and stood up following the conclusion to answer any questions viewers had after the movie’s conclusion.
The audience seemed shocked when he stood up and said he had been in the same SEAL team as Kyle and didn’t say much other than thanking him for his service.
“Overall the movie was well-done, showing that the war really doesn’t end overseas,” Hall said.
Hall acknowledged the rich military history that makes up IU, starting with the War of 1812, eight years before the University was even established.
Hall is the vice president of the Student Veterans of America IU-Bloomington chapter and also serves as an assistant building manager of the IMU. He served as the Explosive ordinance disposal technician for SEAL Team 3 and was exposed to situations that were similar to those depicted in the movie.
Representatives from Muslim Student Union were supposed to speak as well, following the first screening that night, but canceled the discussion earlier that evening.
Kyle is known as the most lethal sniper in United States military history with 160 confirmed kills. The movie portrays the life of Kyle both on and off the battlefield.
Since its January 2015 release, the movie has received backlash from many Muslim organizations, saying Kyle is less of a hero and more of a murderer, targeting Muslim people in his missions.
Hall said he was exposed to amazing Muslim culture, especially on his second tour when he was responsible for protecting executive powers, but also saw a lot of things that were ugly as well. He said he believed the movie did not target anyone or any specific group, but rather was based off facts of what war truly is in reality.
“You cannot paint a picture with a broad brush stroke,” Hall said.
According to a New York Post article, the University of Michigan was hosting a screening of the film and a petition to ban the movie on campus went around after the screening was announced. The petition accumulated around 300 signatures, banning the movie. Quickly after this ban, though, it was reauthorized due to the intense backlash from other students for censoring a work of art at a public institution.
As a veteran that joined the military at age 17 as a means of escape, Hall saw the movie as a positive depiction of the efforts by the American military, versus a portrayal that lacked attention to detail.
“I thought it was very powerful, a truly amazing film,” Zachary Stant, IU sophomore and viewer of the movie, said.
Stant had heard the movie had received not-so-satisfactory ratings and was pleasantly surprised when he saw it himself.
“It makes me want to join the military and with much force it makes me not want to join at the same time,” Stant said.