War Machine

War Machine

War Machine 

2017.  Directed by David Michod. 

By Brian Wallinger. 

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War Machine is an exercise in political satire that has all the right tools, but fails to utilize its source material and falls into being a flat and forgettable experience.

Brad Pitt plays a larger than life military general that is loosely based on real life General Stanley McChrystal, a man who is loyal to those who served under his command and obsessed with winning as well as a striving towards personal greatness. Pitt gives a solid performance, but there are times when his monotone voice becomes overbearing and drifts towards coming off like a drunken Jack Nicholson impression.

Ben Kingsley as president Hamid Karzai also proves to be another positive light to the film yet i couldn't help but question why wasn't an actual Islamic actor portraying the character? There is also a great however unfortunately short lived exchange with actress Tilda Swinton as a journalist. The rest of the cast feels roughly missed matched and out of place. The film can't decide if it wants to be a comedy or a lightly handled melodrama.

The narrative points prove to be a stronger aspect of the film, but the script feels very uninspired and boring; offering only a few solid moments that are never capitalized upon. The film takes place when General Glen McMahon (Pitt) is brought into Afghanistan to find a solution for winning the war against the Taliban. His methods and leadership soon come under public interest and his abilities are soon put into question.

Despite some mildly engaging moments, War Machine as a whole feels misguided and uneven.  Had it not been for the performances of Pitt and Kingsley, it could have gone a lot worse.

☆☆

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