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War Machine (2017)

War Machine is a type of film that is more interesting because of what it represents and the background of its shooting, than because of the story itself in it. Produced at a very high level, this satirical presentation of the fictionalized Stanley McChrystal is very convincing. In support of that are sets that simply copied the military base, with the right equipment and uniforms, not only the American one (a soldier with Macedonian insignia and a strong accent is especially impressive to me). However, the story is such that it is not particularly appealing even if it is presented quite faithfully – a satire of something we are familiar with can easily work, but a satire about Americans in Afghanistan can rarely lie to anyone.

Michael Hasting became famous for his famous article in Rolling Stone magazine, which was the basis for his writing of The Operators. His character in this film also has the function of a cynical narrator, which is completely in place, but occasionally even the narration is redundant. I expect a slightly deeper and relatively more interesting story from satire, in which the characters have priority over action. In that sense, War Machine works, but there is a problem that the characters are not interesting at all or are reduced to a classic cartoon. And besides, there are 3-4 scenes that made me laugh from the bottom of my heart.

The biggest problem with this film is the fact that, in essence, the authors were not sure what it wanted to be. Although satire prevails, which, in itself, ridicules everything, at times I was confused by the unexpected seriousness, but also by the somewhat weak approach to situations that have a lot of material for satire (eg elections). If I had to say what this film is, it would be a confusing combination of a satirical portrayal of the protagonist, a parody of the military, high politics and bureaucracy, but also a serious anti-war (I would say anti-American) message.

Directed and written by David Michôd, whose previous films were nowhere near comedy. He did his directorial work more than correctly, but most of the above-mentioned screenwriting problems go to his soul. However, he gathered a solid cast in which Brad Pitt stands out as the central hero. He obviously put a lot of effort into this role and added a solid number of characteristic movements and tics to the voice of Aldo from Basterds, but besides that, I’m still not sure if he tore the role or missed it completely. Of the other actors, I will mention Ben Kings and Tilda Swinton in cameo roles, which were quite effective.