Movies · On Netflix

Netflix Original Movie “War Machine” is a Compelling but Strange Film

I’ll be the first to admit that I know very little when it comes things like modern warfare or the intricacies of the recent Middle Eastern conflicts that the U.S. has taken part in.

I’d like to say that it was the prospect of learning something new about what went on in Afghanistan that drew me to watch the Netflix Original movie War Machine. But I’ll be honest, I was really just wondering why Brad Pitt was starring in a Netflix Original – isn’t that only for the likes of Adam Sandler?

Surprisingly Compelling

We decided to give it a shot, on an evening when we knew we only had about twenty minutes to watch before we wanted to be asleep. And I think my husband and I were both somewhat expecting it to be lame or weird, and that the following evening we’d opt for something else, rather than finish it.

And yet we came back to it.

Brad Pitt stars as a general who is given the impossible task of winning the war in Afghanistan. His character is a somewhat spoof-ish guy who runs ten miles and eats only one meal every day; and he is bizarrely optimistic about his chances of success, when the whole rest of the world seems to know it’s a lost cause.

I think part of what made the movie so compelling was that bizarre optimism. Another component, for me, was that I  did actually learn a lot of information I previously had not known about that war, presented in an interesting way.

Also, I enjoyed that the movie did not shy away from criticizing Obama’s actions during that time (though of course the reasons I never liked him as a president were more abortion-related in nature…)

The Weirdness

By about half-way through the movie, my husband and I started trying to figure out what this movie was.

Is it a comedy? Well, it’s war, with some actual gritty killing, so not really.

A spoof? Kind of, but again not consistently funny enough to really call it that entirely.

Action? There’s definitely some action-y scenes, but not that many.

Drama? Some of that, too. But I’d hardly call it a straight-up drama.

I actually find it kind of encouraging that such a mixed-genre, strange beast of a film was made (let alone with A-list talent!). Leave it to Netflix, I guess. But to me, it’s a sign of Hollywood taking a chance, making something different, thinking outside the box. A sign that other non-typical fair (say, maybe stuff we Catholics would especially love –like maybe one of my scripts, if I’m being particularly optimistic!) could be on the horizon someday.

Moral Issues

It’s rated Mature, but there were no sex scenes whatsoever (hooray!), and it was mostly for language, with quite a few uses of the F-word and other profanities. There was some violence too, as would be expected in a war film, but nothing that felt excessive.

In relation to that violence, there was actually a bit of a heavy sequence where a younger soldier is out on a mission and realizes he has accidentally killed a civilian child. It packs kind of a powerful punch and really makes one think about the brutality of war in general.

Over All

The movie was surprisingly entertaining and not a bad way to spend two hours. On the whole, not bad, Netflix.