Clint Eastwood: ‘American Sniper’ is an “Antiwar Statement”
Amid all the cacophony and controversy surrounding Clint Eastwood’s Oscar-nominated film American Sniper, the director insists the wartime biopic makes “the biggest antiwar statement any film can.”
The Hollywood Reporter reports Eastwood, 84, addressed the Producers Guild Award Nominees Breakfast at the Saban Theater in Beverly Hills on Saturday.
“The biggest antiwar statement any film” can make is to show “the fact of what [war] does to the family and the people who have to go back into civilian life like Chris Kyle did,” Eastwood insisted.
“One of my favorite war movies that I’ve been involved with is Letters From Iwo Jima,” Eastwood said. “And that was about family, about being taken away from life, being sent someplace. In World War II, everybody just sort of went home and got over it. Now there is some effort to help people through it. In Chris Kyle’s case no good deed went unpunished.”
The film, which according to Variety topped box office receipts for a second week in a row ($64.4 million), is based on Navy SEAL Chris Kyle’s autobiography American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in US Military History. Kyle reportedly had 255 kills, 160 of which were officially confirmed by the Pentagon, during his four tours in Iraq. Kyle and a friend, Chad Littlefield, were shot and killed on February 2, 2013 by Marine Corps veteran Eddie Ray Routh, who they were trying to help cope with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
American Sniper has galvanized opinion on the right and the left. Many Americans, especially conservatives, have praised the film’s depiction of a man many consider a hero.
“The movie gives America something it’s lacked since the start of the war — a war hero on a truly national, cultural scale,” asserted David French of the National Review.
Many antiwar voices, meanwhile, accuse the film of ignoring Iraqis’ perspectives and lying about Kyle and the war. Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore and, more recently, comedian and HBO talk show host Bill Maher, are among those who have raised eyebrows and ire by blasting the film.
Much of the criticism of the film centers on Kyle’s own words in his book, in which he says he “loves killing” and calls Iraqis fighting to defend their homeland against foreign invaders “damn savages.”
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) has written to Eastwood and star Bradley Cooper, who plays Kyle in the film, claiming it has collected “hundreds of violent messages targeting Arab and Muslim Americans from movie-goers,” mostly via social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.