You can't achieve a hit the size of American Sniper without appealing to the four quadrants – a term the film industry uses to describe demographics who’ll turn out to support a given movie. Clint Eastwood has seen his Chris Kyle biopic appeal to numerous fan bases, and it has been embraced by pro- and anti-military organizations as it marched through the box office earlier this year. But where does the director think his messages lie? He finally weighed in.

Not that Clint Eastwood has been avoiding this issue. I’m just not sure if the question of whether American Sniper is pro- or anti-war was posed to him. Well, he finally addressed it while speaking with students at the Loyala Marymount University School of Film and TV, revealing to the audience (and shared via THR) that American Sniper amounts to an anti-war film.
I think it’s nice for veterans, because it shows what they go through, and that life — and the wives and families of veterans. It has a great indication of the stresses they are under. And I think that all adds up to kind of an anti-war [message].

Not for nothing, but I agreed with Eastwood’s sentiments whole-heartedly in my own review of Sniper, which manages to be pro-military (and respectful to the men and women who serve in our armed forces) while also coming off as anti-war. Prior to American Sniper, I would have thought it very difficult to strike the balance between those two sentiments. But Eastwood found, in Chris Kyle, a subject who committed with all of this heart to the military, and rarely questioned his allegiance. But the film also examined how that commitment to serve affected those around him, from his wife (Sienna Miller) to his sibling. And Eastwood, to his credit, didn’t pull punches when presenting that emotional conflict.

At the same time, it’s understandable why pro-military and pro-war supporters drift to American Sniper, as well. Clint Eastwood and his team delivering harrowing, realistic combat sequences in the Oscar-winning drama, putting Kyle (Bradley Cooper) on the front lines of some devastating battles. These sequences are pulse-racing, and you could see how some might confuse Eastwood’s intentions while viewing the war-time drama.
What can’t be argued is the movie’s financial success. American Sniper so far has earned $517 million worldwide. It is Eastwood’s highest-grossing film (attained at the ripe old age of 84!), and it recently claimed the title of highest-grossing movie of 2014, besting Guardians of the Galaxy and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1. Now that you know Eastwood’s stance on the picture, does it change how you view it? Weigh in below.

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