An idealistic general is put in charge of America's war effort in Afghanistan and is confronted by opposition whenever he tries to change the game.
War Machine (2017)
Written and Directed by David Michôd
Starring Brad Pitt, Daniel Betts, John Magaro, Emory Cohen, Anthony Michael Hall, Topher Grace, RJ Cyler, Alan Ruck, Nicholas Jones, Griffin Dunne, Will Poulter, LaKeith Stanfield, Ben Kingsley
Based on the book The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying
Inside Story of America's War in Afghanistan by Michael Hastings
War Machine has an interesting story to tell, but it never goes far enough to tell it. The film plays it too safe, desperately wanting to be the Full Metal Jacket of the War on Terror, but ending up being just another subpar movie that gets lost in Netflix's Originals page. Despite an entertaining performance from Brad Pitt, this film is a bit of a slog to get through and feels overly long. By the end, there's no revelation. The buck just gets passed to the next warmonger. While there's some unfortunate truth to that, being that this film isn't based on a true story, there were so many badass directions this film could've gone in.
Pitt plays General Glen McMahon, newly appointed leader of America's war effort in Afghanistan. He surrounds himself with a posse of go-getters, almost like a movie star's entourage. He considers himself to be the fire that will bring down the Taliban, though all of his decisions are met with opposition by the power players of the war. The civilians and the suits, who are all somehow profiting off an endless war. So, Glen tries to do things his way, but before he can do it, President Obama announces that the war will be ramping down in eighteen months. Disillusioned, Glen tries to make one last ditch effort to win the war. Honestly, there's just not enough story to maintain interest. Glen McMahon is an interesting, larger than life character, but he has nothing to do besides harp about how awesome he is and how he's gonna win the war.
So many modern war movies have this same problem with the War on Terror. Studios never bother manufacturing a plot. They just drop some actors in the desert, throw them some military dialogue, and think that somehow they're gonna end up with the next Saving Private Ryan. All of these movies bleed together, and it's getting really tough to give the next one a chance. War Machine never owns up to the satire it promised, and it's an extremely forgettable misfire.