War Machine (David Michôd) 2017 ** 5/28/2017

This is one of those “anti-war” movies that misses the point.  There are no bad guys – except for smug or faceless bureaucrats and those pesky rules of engagement.  Brad Pitt terribly overplays the marble-mouthed General Glen McMahon, come in to sort everything out in Afghanistan.  It’s a war, goddamnit!  The picture is narrated by a Rolling Stone journalist (the story is ‘inspired’ by Michael Hastings’ “The Operators”) writing a piece on the General and his team (shouty rah-rah meatheads, fragile raw kids, straight-laced mandarin, brash “do”ers).  He reflects on the madness of it all, a world where no one knows why we’re fighting and it’s really all too muddled to be figured out.  That’s my main point of contention with this movie; you imagine its makers fancy themselves truth-tellers when they’re really just rehashing the whole “men-of-honor,” “shades of grey,” “war is mad” line.  There’s a couple of funny moments with Hamid Karzai (Ben Kingsley), though only one of them makes you laugh.  And the movie approaches having something to say when Glen is questioned in Germany by a politician (Tilda Swinton) who identifies his stake in the war as ego and a desire for glory.  That’s ruined by her emphasizing that she doesn’t “doubt your intentions,” though, as if chauvinist dreams of valor are a moral motivation for gunfire.  Alas!  Once again the world is complicated and the US bumbled into bloodshed again.  Sorry about that.

This entry was posted in Action, Comedy/Drama, History, War and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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