Sean Penn fears humans are becoming “anaesthetised” towards war crimes because there is not enough violence on TV.
The Mystic River star forced himself to watch footage of terrorist group ISIS carrying out acts of beheading because he wanted a reminder of how savage real-life killings can be. And he was so shocked by the horrific footage that he realised modern-day censorship and political correctness have dulled the public over the realities of war.
Penn tells British newspaper the Daily Telegraph, “I’ve watched them (beheading videos). And anyone who sees them and claims that they were anaesthetised by violent movies, that they weren’t horrified by what they saw, on the most primal level, is intellectually dishonest or existentially unpresent. “The problem is we are not seeing enough of real violence. We are being anaesthetised when you don’t see the horror of war. In the Sixties, we grew up with the horror of Vietnam on our television screens every day. Today we have become anaesthetised by political correctness. The American news channels did this with the Iraq war; they wouldn’t show what it was about, they wouldn’t show the caskets coming home.”
Penn plays a former Special Forces sniper in new film The Gunman.