Netflix Review: War Machine

Brad Pitt‘s latest film War Machine is unlike any of the stereotypical war-centric movies that are churned out by studios on a yearly basis. It substitutes the US Military saves-the-world propaganda for a grounded, humorous, satirical political drama.

So, Is It Any Good?Netflix has had a bit of a mixed bag with its originals. I can safely say, however, that War Machine is not one of them. This film was a welcome relief from past attempts at telling a story based on the war in Afghanistan, there is not one single moment where the US military is pictured as the saviors. Instead, War Machine shows that you can make a war movie without any of the high stakes shootouts that many of its predecessors have done in the past.

The setup of the film is told via Rolling Stone reporter Sean Cullen (Scoot McNairy), who gives us the lay of the land and introduces the characters perfectly in a way where you immediately understand who they are, their motivations, and their reasons for being there. There’s no moment where you are trying to figure out who characters are, which makes it a hell of a lot easier to understand and follow.Brad PittBrad Pitt plays a rather unorthodox Gen. Glen McMahon. A 4-star general tasked with helping rebuild Afghanistan during the US occupation after 9/11. As with most films and in real life, the word “rebuild” often comes with a rather heavy loss of life. McMahon wants none of this, as he is not interested in using the US Military’s presence as a way to strong-arm the locals with the use of force or a show of military firepower. The way Pitt portrays his character, you can’t help but think that he is a direct descendant of Lt. Aldo Raine.

As the film goes on, you get a sense of what it would be like to be in McMahon’s shoes, as he struggles to find a balance between fighting a war, rebuilding a country and helping its citizens, and dealing with the political power plays that are handed down to him by the US officials. The entire first half of this film is so political in fact, that not a single shot was fired until the hour and a half mark.

Even though Brad Pitt is front and centre, the film also has an outstanding supporting cast which includes Anthony Michael Hall, Alan Ruck, Will Poulter, Topher Grace, Ben Kingsley and Tilda Swinton… not to mention a surprise cameo at the end, which I won’t spoil.war machineThere is a lot to love about this movie. The humour that Pitt brings to his character is very dry and witty, and this is compounded by an incredible cast that adds to every scene they are in together. Writer/Director David Michod has crafted an amazing, highly satirical war movie, that unbelievably was based on a true story!

WAR MACHINE is now streaming on Netflix.

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