American Sniper has caused waves on the country’s political landscape, igniting passions and politics alike. The film’s director, Clint Eastwood, has spoken about the film and said it makes “the biggest anti-war statement any film can.”
Raw Story reported Eastwood as saying the movie was anti-war because of its depiction of “what [war] does to the family and the people who have to go back to into civilian life like Chris Kyle did.” This is what the film did. However, choosing to create a film sourced from a book and author, Chris Kyle, that is staunchly pro-war is curious.
“One of my favorite war movies that I’ve been involved with is Letters from Iwo Jima,” said Eastwood. “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.”
Eastwood is alluding to the ending of the movie after Kyle is home from the war and living back in Texas. He’s been helping the VA in working with veterans with PTSD. The screen fades to black and a white-lettered caption appears that Chris Kyle had been killed by a veteran he was trying to help. The veteran had PTSD. Kyle had become an indirect causality of a war he’d so been behind.
Furthermore, Raw Story did note that Eastwood didn’t acknowledge the film’s incomplete depiction of the Iraqi people. We only see two groups: the innocent civilians and the “savages” of the insurgency, as many of the film’s characters refer to them.
If American Sniper is an “anti-war” film, it misses the mark of making that clear. The film was a step short of a gun blazing action flick with a few emotional moments sprinkled in. There was no real thoughtfulness to the movie, and the characters are simple and flat.