Pitt-fall casts a shadow over bold move
David Michod ( Animal Kingdom)
Brad Pitt, Topher Grace, Anthony Michael Hall, Anthony Hayes, Tilda Swinton, Ben Kingsley. VIDEO-STREAMING giant Netflix has big plans to change the way people experience prestige, first-run cinema.
With the major Hollywood studios now seemingly addicted to comic books, superheroes, sequels and remakes, Netflix wants to be the go-to destination for innovative and original movie story-telling.
What’s more, Netflix is putting its money where its mouth is, paying Brad Pitt and his production company a whopping $80 million for an edgy military satire set at the height of America’s abortive war on terror.
While War Machine is undoubtedly a good film — sometimes even great on brief occasions — it won’t be spark- ing the kind of worldwide sensation that Netflix might be hoping for.
Remarkably, the chief factor hobbling its chances of widespread success is the main attraction himself. In filling out the central role of War Machine — a rough, tough and gruff US general on a collision course with then-President Barack Obama — Pitt makes a flamboyantly odd set of choices that make his performance a decidedly acquired taste.
The way that the actor walks, talks and shapes his body is intended to be the stuff of broad caricature, but it comes off as a weird in-joke.
The distraction of Pitt eventually subsides as War Machine digs deeper into a genuinely interesting story.
The year is 2009, and the legendary five-star firebrand General Glen “The Glenimal’’ McMahon (Pitt) has just started running the US show in Afghanistan.
Obama’s White House wants out of the conflict altogether. McMahon thinks America should stick around and show the world that Uncle Sam can still fix a broken nation.
As this film is a thinly veiled recap of a dust-up that actually transpired between Obama and notorious military maverick General Stanley McChrystal, it is already well-known this clash of ideologies will not end well.
However, War Machine finds real strength and purpose once it is obvious The Glenimal’s fate is sealed. Had a little of the same urgency been detected earlier in the picture, it might have been something truly special.
Nevertheless, War Machine is still worth a look if you’re feeling both adventurous and patient.
BARMY ARMY: Brad Pitt in a scene from War Machine.