For a moment there, it seemed no one could stop talking about “American Sniper.” The big box office smash was the focus of lots of think pieces and opinions, particularly in regards to how it portrayed the people who sniper Chris Kyle, played by Bradley Cooper, put into his gunsight. Some said Clint Eastwood‘s film was apolitical, others read it as a movie endorsing Middle East intervention, while others didn’t think it had a message at all. But the filmmaker has shed some light on the lingering questions his movie has left behind.
Speaking with students at Loyola Marymount University School of Film & TV, Eastwood said about his movie: “I think it’s nice for veterans, because it shows what they go through, and that life — and the wives and families of veterans. It has a great indication of the stresses they are under. And I think that all adds up to kind of an anti-war [message].” But the question is whether or not he actually succeeded.
On the one hand, the taut and well executed action sequences in “American Sniper” seem like popcorn entertainment first and foremost, but certainly, the psychic toll the kills had on Kyle, and the trauma he dealt with after aren’t exactly ringing endorsements to go lineup at your nearest recruitment center. And in general, Eastwood said he’s also anti-war, even though it makes for good cinema.
“I’ve done war movies because they’re always loaded with drama and conflict. But as far as actual participation … it’s one of those things that should be done with a lot of thought, if it needs to be done. Self-protection is a very important thing for nations, but I just don’t like to see it,” he said. “I was not a big fan of going to war in Iraq or Afghanistan, for several reasons, several practical reasons. One, [in] Afghanistan, the British had never been successful there; the Russians had 10 years there and hadn’t been successful… Iraq, I know, was a different deal, because there was a lot of intelligence that told us that bad things could happen there, and we’re never sure how that ended up, whether it was pro or con. [But] I tend to err on the side of less is best.”
So, does this lay the controversy to bed? Let us know in the comments section. [THR]