Kurt Loder on Why American Sniper Is Not a Pro-War Movie


Whatever Clint Eastwood's exact politics may be—kind of libertarian? sort of conservative?—his hit movie, American Sniper, waves no flags for America's involvement in the Iraq war, writes Kurt Loder. In a film inspired by the true story of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, said to be the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history, Eastwood marshals deep feelings about the moral and physical destruction of war, and he flashes anger toward the higher-ups who guide young warriors to their doom. He doesn't flinch from showing us the full ugliness of combat—American forces violently invading an Iraqi home, a vicious jihadi taking a power drill to a helpless civilian—but this is in no way an old-school Hollywood war movie. Eastwood never exults in the brutal action, and throughout the film we can feel his disgust.