Brad Pitt, Ben Kingsley, Anthony Hayes, Emory Cohen, RJ Cyler, Daniel Betts, Topher Grace, Anthony Michael Hall, John Magaro, Aymen Hamdouchi, Scoot McNairy, Will Poulter, Keith Stanfield, Alan Ruck, Meg Tilly, Griffin Dunne, Josh Stewart, Tilda Swinton, Georgina Rylance, Russell Crowe, Reggie Brown
A successful US General (Brad Pitt) is sent to command NATO forces in Afghanistan and he is determined to win an unwinnable war.
I saw the trailer for War Machine about a week ago. It didn't convince me but I still gave the film a change because it's from David Michôd and, as he proved with his previous two movies, Animal Kingdom and The Rover, he knows what he is doing. I guess that's why I wasn't crazy about this one because I was expecting way more from him.
After dealing with criminal families and post-apocalyptic worlds, this time around Michôd uses a fictitious war story to tell about the rise and fall of a US General and he does that blending reality and fiction only to empathize how hard it is to distinguish them.
But that's not the only thing he tries to do, actually, that's the less important. The real goal, well, I suppose, is to show the hypocrisy and surrealism around the role of US in the Afghanistan war. Or wars in general, for what matters. The problem is that, in order to do that, he switched drama, a field where he's very experienced, for comedy. Terrible comedy. It's almost like War Machine tries to be a modern-day version of Dr. Strangelove, and it fails miserably.
Then there's Scoot McNairy's voice over that gives the film that satirical boost it needs, but at the same time it also keep the General's character sympathetic and it feels like they, the filmmakers, want you to care for him.
That's how War Machine ends up being a movie about war that is neither funny nor dramatic, a war movie that lacks action and that fails to make that criticism it's supposed to make.
However, it's not all rotten, and the cast has to be thanked for that. In spite of the weak script, the actors manage to do a fairly good job, in particular Brad Pitt as the General who just kills it with his exaggerated facial expressions and grins, pretty much the only parodistic thing about the film that really works.