This week’s Netflix Pick is the Netflix produced War Machine. No, this isn’t James Rhodes getting his own movie. As cool as that would be War Machine is nonetheless an entertaining movie.
General Glen McMahon (Brad Pitt) is a through and through career military man. He is known as being a hardass. He gets things done and his eye is always on the objective. He’s the kind of leader that never asks anyone to do anything he himself would not do. He’s the kind of leader that those who serve under him respect, love, and obey.
The war in Afghanistan is raging on when McMahon is sent in to clean up the situation. All those involved in the war prior to McMahon’s arrival say the war in unwinnable and just want to pull out. McMahon looks at the disparaged Afghan people and the men serving under him and decides leaving isn’t an option. He wants to help the people. He wants to win the war in Afghanistan.
Playing by his own set of rules McMahon and his unique team around him set out to do just that. Many of his methods aren’t exactly by the book and his ‘rock-star’ attitude gets the attention of a journalist from Rolling Stone magazine.
I’m not going to try to hide anything from the loyal listeners/readers. War Machine isn’t the best movie you’re going to see this summer. It’s not a big budget action adventure. It doesn’t start a single super hero. It isn’t a franchise tent pole. But those reasons make watching this movie all the more enjoyable. Netflix has thrown it’s hat into the ring for the summer movie season. It made a good looking, well produced, and fantastically acted original movie. The industry is ever changing and this is the way it’s going. A List stars in movies you can stream from the comfort of your couch on release day.
From the synopsis and buzz around War Machine it gave the impression McMahon was going to be a bumbling moron. His character is anything but. A man wholly in control of his actions and the situation at all times McMahon is a well meaning General who does right by his men while looking out for the bigger picture.
In the sense of the movie business, the lead actor being just as engaging as the subject matter is crucial. Brad Pitt brings the ease of a perfect performance wherever he goes. Pitt has been in front of audiences since the late-80’s. We’ve seen him in every type of role possible. He is an electric force on the screen and has a general likability about him. His turn as McMahon isn’t the best performance of his career but he brings the man to life and with a few adjustments in voice, and body language embodies a four star general wonderfully.
The supporting cast is shockingly well stacked as well. When’s the last time you’ve seen Topher Grace? John Magaro made famous from Orange is the New Black, The Big Short, and Unbroken has some good scenes with Pitt. Anthony Michael Hall and Ben Kingsley also have fantastic and memorable roles in the film. Just to name a few.
The movie is incredibly well shot. Maybe it’s a preconceived notion that movies that don’t get a theatrical release are lesser (left over from the days of straight to VHS sequels no doubt). But the film is crisp, well edited, and the camera work steady. The sound track stays with the beats and although some of the tracks are all too movie familiar the movie never gets lost pretending something it isn’t.
War Machine is an entertaining movie and an interesting entry into the every growing category of films about the war on terror. With the massive movies hitting the big screen this summer it was refreshing to be able to kick back in the comfort of my own home and watch some amazing performances depicting an interesting man.