If the purpose of art is to help us live better, then to have integrity, storytellers who feature characters who behave badly have a responsibility to illunminate their motivation and context.
As American Sniper continues raking in money at the box office, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee remains worried about “serious threats” being made to Arabs and Muslims.
On Jan. 27, Warner Bros. issued a statement saying the movie studio “denounces any violent, anti-Muslim rhetoric, including that which has been attributed to viewers of American Sniper. Hate and bigotry have no place in the important dialogue that this picture has generated about the veteran experience.”
Director Clint Eastwood and Bradley Cooper, who plays real-life sniper Chris Kyle, have yet to comment, though over the weekend Eastwood called Sniper an anti-war film.
The film is based on Kyle’s memoir. He was shot to death in 2013 in the U.S. In the book, Kyle writes of killing 60 Iraqi “savages” during his four deployments: “Savage, despicable evil. That’s what we were fighting in Iraq.”
Since the film opened, tweets have echoed the sentiment, referring to “ragheads,” “vermin scum” and hatred of Muslims.
The last two movies that my wife and I had the chance to watch were Avatar and The Blind Side. Not sure how that happened, but both movies had very rich missiological and race themes to them. Or maybe I just see everything in that way.
It's that time of year again -- you know, when Clint Eastwood releases a trailer for a movie that looks fascinating and completely different from the last thing he did, and your trio of reactions run something like this: 1) Hmmm, Clint's got a movie coming out -- didn't we just see 'Gran Torino' five minutes ago?
The other day I heard a 78-year-old man sing, through a cracked voice, one of the most moving and gentle jazz melodies, as the iconic image of a fetishized sports car being driven into the sunset was projected. And, not for the first time in recent years, I was crying at the end of a Clint Eastwood film.