“American Sniper” Has Hell in Sights

What is hell’s heaviest toll on this earth?

An answer is suggested in the film American Sniper, Clint Eastwood’s latest directorial effort and his finest since Letters from Iwo Jima, a film that deals with similar themes.

American Sniper rules the U.S. box office, currently recording the highest gross revenues of any film in the country, as it has since its theatrical release. This is an exceptional feat for an R-rated film dealing head-on with the horror and brutality of war.

Eastwood’s is not the first major film to approach America’s ongoing military engagement in the Middle-East, however, it is one of the relative few to avoid symbolically and gratuitously slapping America in the face in the process, and, not coincidentally, one of the few to make good at the box office. One thing made clear is that American film goers do not want to be lectured by leftist elites about the ravages of war while Americans are still fighting in such a war and both soldiers and civilians continue to suffer and die.

Instead of gravitating toward the inherent politics of war, American Sniper holds to a compelling personal narrative, one with deep humanity and humility at its core; the main reason it is finding such a large audience. Eastwood’s narrative takes place within a vast, raging storm of human sacrifice, bearing compassionate witness to soldiers and civilians who, in times of war, occupy the vortex — perhaps hell’s heaviest, most compelling toll.


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