War is basically the perfect subject for a filmmaker. It is extremely visceral. It provides obvious action. Morality can be as opaque or as transparent as you like. War has been good to the film business.
War is killing. It is justified killing, yet even justified killing constitutes a form of evil -- but it's the lesser evil, and living with it is the moral burden soldiers accept to carry for the rest of us.
American Sniper may not have come out of Oscar weekend with any of the top prizes, but it did come away with a new cumulative box office of more than $320 million. That's by far the highest of any war film in history, not to mention more than all the other Oscar Best Picture nominees combined.
In the age of an endless stream of war zone losses and ties, it can be hard to keep Homeland enthusiasm up for perpetual war. But like propaganda films and sexual pornography, Hollywood movies about America at war have changed remarkably little over the years.
Between the time the wars start and the movies begin coming out, for God's sake pay attention. Follow the news enough to know that Arab allies are helping us and snipers aren't cowards doing an easy job. How can you support the troops if you don't understand what they do?
American Sniper succeeds in showing the struggle of a dangerous man trying to live a normal life with his family. The affect the war has on families, and how it changes their loved ones is something not often explored, especially not this deeply or honestly.
The days of traditional entertainment houses capitalizing on veteran's stories may soon be doomed. Doomed may be the wrong word used here however, the point is, traditional entertainment houses better beware. Veterans are on to something very unique.
War should never be debated in the abstract; it's only at our own peril when we reduce it to mindless entertainment. We must always remember how hideous the face of war can be, and how pitiless it is to those caught in its path of destruction.