Posted May 26 2017

War Machine - This Netflix Movie Doesn't Rock

Dir: David Michod

Starring Brad Pitt, Emory Cohen, Scoot McNairy, Will Poulter, Tilda Swinton, Meg Tilly, Alan Ruck, Griffin Dunn, Ben Kingsley, Anthony Michael Hall, Topher Grace, RJ Cyler

In which Netflix take a stumble…The latest from the revolutionary streaming giant is their highest profile movie to date (and yes, we’re counting the Adam Sandlers), so it’s a shame that it really doesn’t add up to much. Producer Pitt also stars as General Glen McMahon – the “Glenimal” to his mates – brought into Afghanistan to win the war that no one has been able to win. Yet. At least that’s his intent. Director Michod’s intent is to make an anti-war satire – but this is no Catch 22. When its humour is pitched at the level of a black man saying “They all look alike to me” about the indigenous Afghan insurgents, you know you’re in trouble.

Michod’s movie deals remarkably little with the war, and more with the politics around it – cue decent albeit brief turns from Ruck, Dunne and a strangely pointless Swinton. The movie clearly has targets in mind, but like its marines seen later under fire, it can’t seem to hit them. Or even work out what they actually are. But to use that to show the confusion of war is not the point here – most times there simply doesn’t seem to be one.

The whole thing is not helped by Pitt himself delivering a performance so one dimensional he daren’t turn sideways less he disappear completely. There a strong cast going to waste here – Cohen and McNairy amongst them – but War Machine is remarkably unfocused. Forced to rely on swathes of voice over (from McNairy’s eventually revealed Rolling Stone reporter) the film ultimately falls foul of the one thing said Rolling Stone man accuses McMahon’s troupes of – its own sense of hubris.

War Machine is streaming on Netflix from today


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