War Machine (2017)

TV-MA   |    |  Comedy, Drama, War


War Machine (2017) Poster

An idiosyncratic general confronts opposition from enemies, allies, and bureaucrats while leading a massive rebuilding operation in Afghanistan.


6/10
39,920

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27 May 2017 | SnoopyStyle
6
| ups and downs
Gen. Glen McMahon (Brad Pitt) is no non-sense soldier. He lives a Spartan life often away from his family. He and his team such as the always shouting Greg Pulver (Anthony Michael Hall) are called in to cleanup the Afganistan quagmire. He is told to push the needle and not request for more troops. Instead, he is driven to win and sees his way where everyone else has failed. He uses any means to get his way while not getting his meeting with Obama. He finds President Karzai (Ben Kingsley), an isolated corrupt leader. Media consultant Matt Little (Topher Grace) suggests getting him an article in Rolling Stones.

This dark comedy is too real to be funny. If Strangelove actually happened, the absurd movie would be less fun. One is always reminded that real people died here and there because the character of McMahon is based on a real person. While there are interesting bits, the general sense of this movie is one of tired resignation.

I don't know if it's the Rolling Stones reporter but I'm reminded of Almost Famous. In that movie, the reporter is the protagonist and he's the eyes with which the audience sees the story. The rock star is a subject who is slowly revealed. In this movie, we are given only the narration of reporter Sean Cullen for the most part. He shows up for a limited role later in the movie. McMahon is the protagonist and we're stuck with him for good and for ill.

Of all the characters, the most compelling is the 'confused' Marine Cpl. Billy Cole. His first scene with McMahon is devastating. His face is haunting. What he says resonates more than any other character. In the end, he is a minor character. His other scene is another compelling sequence as his squad goes into a hostile town. Again he is more compelling than anyone else and it is emotionally draining. This movie could have been great but McMahon can't be the protagonist. He is an absurd side character like Karzai in this movie.

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