On Friday night’s Real Time with Bill Maher, the caustic host and his panel discussed last week’s big box office news—the runaway success of Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper, which as of January 23 has made approximately $154 million. While the film’s financial success is certainly making headlines, Maher was interested in the polarity of the social media discussion around the film and its real-life hero, the late Chris Kyle.
Maher—a man who is not known for his sense of nuance—was frustrated by the absence of subtlety in the conversation around Sniper, particularly when compared with The Hurt Locker, which he said “covers a lot of the same territory” but was met with far less success.
“Hurt Locker only made $17 million…because it was a little ambiguous. And thoughtful,” said Maher. “And [American Sniper] is just, ‘American hero, he’s a psychopath patriot, and we love him.'”
According to Maher, Sniper could use a little bit of Hurt Locker‘s ambiguity, especially when one considers the real-life Chris Kyle, who wrote about how much he enjoyed his time as a sniper.
“The idea that Americans cannot see any ambiguity,” said Maher. “That somebody has to be pure hero or pure traitor, is ridiculous.”