Whether or not you are in favor of what is going on in the Middle East with our soldiers, I think most of us would agree it is not entirely working. Maybe because it is feels like the quintessential no win situation. I am not here to tell you my opinion or what is right or wrong; I only bring it up because Netflix’s new original film deals with it, so I felt like it was a good way to open this up. Netflix who has been making news for the movies they are releasing brings out one that you would be think would be at your local theater and not on your queue at home.
“War Machine” feels more like that than any of their other films, not because if its size but because of who is in it. Gen. Glen McMahon (Brad Pitt) is the man who is going to come fix Afghanistan. McMahon is coming off some successful time in Iraq and the higher ups think he is just the man they need. While the Government has different plans, McMahon being the man he is has his own agenda. The thing he wants to do is what no one else in his position has done before and that is win. Coming with the General is his team of baggage handlers, P.R. people, and his best friend since West Point. While everything starts off well for McMahon, even getting more soldiers when it says it couldn’t have been done, things do take a turn. That turn is into reality, as the General is faced with outcomes to situations he’s not used to .
Seeing a Netflix original with an A-list star like Pitt is a signal to where we are heading with movies. I don’t believe this will be the end of the theater going experience as we know it, but instead another way movies can find their way to us. Pitt is not the only actor in this film, which carries a pretty good cast. Ben Kingsley, Anthony Michael Hall and Topher Grace join Pitt in this half real half parody film. Written and directed by David Michôd (Animal Kingdom) from a book by Michael Hastings, “War Machine” has a good feel to it. The film finds the perfect blend of being a serious film about the business of war and showing how absurd it can be as well. Pitt is good at being a General who is in control and who is more than sure of himself.
While films being released this way are becoming more common, I still fear the stigma that comes with it being released this way. I think there are still enough people who see a film that goes direct to home viewing as a sign of its quality. Some might still have that “straight to video” belief that not in the theater equals not very good. With “War Machine” and so many movies today that would be a mistake. While this film is not great, it still falls in the pretty good category and is well worth the watch, because you feel often like you are in the room watching this all unfold. War is hell and we all know that, with “War Machine” you get to see some of the sides that make it tick only in a very entertaining way.