6/10 Like war itself, this film had potential to change the world for the better and have the viewer learn a lesson along the way but ultimately ends up becoming problematic and not what we initially signed up for. “War Machine” has several great things going for it but the biggest problem and the film’s downfall is that it tries to do too much at once. In two hours this film tries to simultaneously be a comedic satire on modern warfare, a husband/wife drama, an action/war film and several other genres mixed in for good measure. The tone is constantly shifting and always inconsistent, resulting in a messy, jumbled film that doesn’t know which path to take so it foolishly takes all of them. There are individual scenes that are fantastic, like Brad Pitt’s Glen McMahon character (who is really General Stanley A. McChrystal) and his wife at their anniversary dinner where we get an emotional scene highlighting the toll that lifelong military service takes on a marriage with all of the distance. Several scenes stood out to me as being really well done but they don’t add up to one coherent story due to those jarring tonal shifts. For the most part, this is very well written by writer/director David Michôd but it is his direction that lacks focus and maturity. As for several of the aspects that Michôd is able to pull off very well, he has assembled a fantastic cast and despite the oddities of Pitt, who runs like some kind of gorilla, always has his left eyebrow raised and speaks in an odd voice, he somehow remains the heart and soul of the film. Pitt is a strong anchor, yet it is many of the supporting characters who interested me the most, particularly Anthony Michael Hall and John Magaro, who put in fantastic work. I was glad that Michôd wrote his supporting characters so well and made them memorable. Most of the military aspects of the film were accurate (only some minor details that you would have had to have served yourself to catch) but nothing glaring enough to hinder the film. There were several A-list actors who popped up for one to two scenes, which was an enjoyably pleasant surprise. The anti-war message of the film is important but nothing that hasn’t already been said in better films since 9/11. That being said, the great acting ensemble, strong score, solid pacing, witty writing and entertainment value make this worth a view on Netflix if you’ve got the time and need something to watch. However, like the war in Afghanistan itself, a lot of money and manpower went into this but many mistakes were made along the way.
#OnceUponATime…In Helmand / #GetOutOfAfghanistan / #RollingDrone / #TopherBase / #InAGoodCompany / #BurnAfterImpeding