In the wake of antiwar criticism from the left and pro-war praise from right about his film American Sniper, director Clint Eastwood told those gathered at Saturday’s Producers Guild Award Nominees Breakfast that his film makes “the biggest antiwar statement any film can.”
Eastwood insisted that the film was an “antiwar statement” because it depicted “what [war] does to the family and the people who have to go back to into civilian life like Chris Kyle did.”
“One of my favorite war movies that I’ve been involved with is Letters from Iwo Jima,” he continued. “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 described how he and the film’s star, Bradley Cooper, visited with Kyle’s family to see “what they were like.”
“I went down there and met the mother and father and their grand-kids,” he said. “It was of great value to [Bradley] because he could get into the history of the family and their feelings about the whole situation. It was a very pleasant experience from beginning to end.”
He did not mention how the film’s depiction of the Iraqi people, who are there — as British comedian and social activist Russell Brand discussed last week — merely as a backdrop to “American military might, American military power.”
Real Time host Bill Maher said of the film’s box office success that “The Hurt Locker [only] made $17 million, because it was a little ambiguous. And thoughtful — and this one is just ‘American hero, he’s a psychopath patriot and we love him.’”
Conservatives, meanwhile, have been extolling the film’s virtue and the heroism of its subject, Chris Kyle. “The movie gives America something it’s lacked since the start of the war — a war hero on a truly national, cultural scale,” David French wrote at the National Review.