War Machine (2017)
June 27, 2017 9:54 PM - Subscribe

A successful, charismatic four-star general, Glenn McMahon, leaps in like a rock star to command NATO forces in Afghanistan, only to be taken down by a journalist's no-holds-barred exposé. Inspired by the true story of General Stanley McChrystal.
posted by the man of twists and turns (8 comments total)
 
this movie could be used as a definition of 'meh'. it's not compelling, not interestingly shot, it has a script that sort of goes nowhere (although where it does go, is predictable from the very start), the acting is okay, etc. for me, war machine was extremely mediocre and i really didn't care at all what was going on.
posted by sapagan at 1:05 AM on June 28


But at least Rhodey got his own movie. I wasn't expecting Marvel to go that route.

Now just give us the damn Black Widow movie already!
posted by Naberius at 6:48 AM on June 29 [1 favorite]


I haven't been able to cut out time for this yet, but my impression is that the appearance of mediocrity is exactly part of what they're trying to do, a kind of "banality of contemporary imperialism" play. At least that's what I read and what's got me interested in watching it.
posted by rhizome at 6:35 PM on June 29


The film didn't seem to find its groove, was it a biopic, a satire, a war movie, a character study? It tried to do it all and flopped. Every scene with Brad Pitt was cringey for me, whatever he was going for didn't work. I did think Anthony Michael Hall was surprisingly good.

If you're at all curious and haven't read Michael Hastings' article The Runaway General start there, and if you like that The Operators is the book that he expanded that into. It's flawed but good; part of the McChrystal story is how his strategy was disconnected from both his frontline soldiers and from the policy and politics of US and NATO civilian leadership. The movie tried to cram both sides of that in but it was maybe too ambitious to do either story justice.

A trivia tidbit from the book, there were two Generals Flynn who worked for McChrystal and they're brothers. There's Michael Flynn, famous for his involvement in the Trump campaign, and his younger brother Chuck. But another shouty general wouldn't have saved this film.
posted by peeedro at 8:02 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


This was way more than I expected, I liked it better than the Hurt Locker as far as ME war movies go. I thought the guy from We're The Millers was really good, laying out the generational recurrence of the gung-ho.

was it a biopic, a satire, a war movie, a character study?

Por que no los quatro?
posted by rhizome at 3:00 AM on July 1


This is a very polarizing movie. A lot of people aren't going to like it, which is fine. Netflix is again going for something a bit niche for just part of their audience. Which I appreciate, because the last thing I want them doing is reality shows just to appeal to the lowest common denominator.

I'm not in the military, but I've spent a lot of my life working with them. Much of that at fairly high levels. This movie is so dead-on accurate that it almost comes across as satire. Pitt's portrayal seems flat, but it is true to life. People like this do exist. You need a good amount of ego to pull off being a general. But when you get to that point, if you aren't surrounded by people that are willing to tell you that an idea you have is bad, things can get to your head.

There is a good amount of meritocracy in the military, but at that level it is just as easy to be surrounded by yes men. Which is far too common.
posted by bh at 9:46 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


This is gonna sound kind of contradictory, but War Machine seemed like both a compressed and watered down version of the HBO miniseries Generation Kill.

Both are kind of "embedded Rolling Stone reporter sees War up close, hangs out with the troops, and the COs are incompetent".

Am I the only one that kind of felt that way?
posted by FJT at 8:30 AM on July 2


Maybe Generation Kill combined with Almost Famous: a bunch of wannabe rock stars go touring with a Rolling Stone reporter, get wasted, forget that he's not on their side, and say a bunch of really embarrassing things in front of him.
posted by peeedro at 6:37 PM on July 2 [1 favorite]


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