Cinema Clips: War Machine

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This movie is all screwy. Brad Pitt plays General Stanley McChrystal (based very clearly on real-life General Stanley McChrystal), put in charge of the War in Afghanistan during the Obama administration.

As depicted by Pitt, McMahon is just his Inglorious Basterds character without a mustache, but this time, Pitt never feels relaxed in the part. He seems lost in a movie that doesn’t really know where it’s going. It’s a military satire, then it’s a serious depiction of men at war, then it’s a straight up comedy, then it’s a political intrigue movie, and so on.

Director David Michod tries to wrangle this mess with the ultimate movie sin, the voiceover, provided by a character based on the late journalist who wrote the article. Michael Hastings (depicted here by a character called Sean Cullen and played by Scoot McNairy) wrote that Rolling Stone article which eventually inspired the book, The Operators. It also brought down McChrystal, depicted here as a bit of a nut, but a lovely, friendly nut who cared about his men, but wanted to win, win, win. In trying to win, he basically leaked classified info, messed with the President, and essentially called him out on 60 Minutes. The film also tries to be a condemnation of American activity overseas, with a not-so-nice depiction of Obama, played here by a mediocre Obama impersonator.

A strong cast including Anthony Michael Hall, Will Poulter, Alan Ruck and Meg Tilly can’t save this schizoid film. Now streaming on Netflix.

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