War Machine is a broad, sharp satire of the war in Iraq, laced with some intriguing social commentary with one of Brad Pitt’s most comical, and surprisingly sincere, performances. Clearly, the film is modeled after The Big Short (another Plan B production), and while the film’s energy isn’t quite as kinetic, nor is at as gut-bustlingly funny, there’s a genuine complexity to the satire; the film isn’t simply a SNL parody of the Bush era, but an interesting character piece on Americans, and their cluelessness to foreign interactions.
General Glen McMahon (Brad Pitt) is a four-star American General hell bent on bringing peace to Iraq, who faces harsh resistance from the Obama Administration, forcing McMahon to question his traditionally nationalist, All-American values. Pitt is absolutely brilliant here; he’s charming, likable, and is never painted as a war monger or caricature. The scenes between McMahon and his wife (Meg Tilly) add emotional weight to the film, and an impressive supporting cast each add personality and charisma to the perfectly paced film.
War Machine walks the fine line between realism and satire; a film in which Brad Pitt comically dances to “Poker Face” also features a ghastly scene of civilian casualties, yet somehow it works well together. It’s a difficult task to handle, and in an era of countless anti-war films, War Machine stands as a unique, interesting take on such a concept. It’s a entertaining and edgy film from Netflix, with a fantastic performances from one of Hollywood’s most iconic movie stars. Grade: A-