Saturday, 27 May 2017
REVIEW: WAR MACHINE
122 Mins. Starring: Brad Pitt, Anthony Hayes, John Magaro, Emory Cohen, Anthony Michael Hall, Topher Grace, Will Poulter, Lakeith Stanfield, Scoot McNairy, Tilda Swinton & Ben Kingsley. Director: David Michod.
Colonel James Rhodes reporting for duty...wait! Wrong 'War Machine' movie! Although we'd be down to binge if Netflix and Marvel gave us a series about Don Cheadle's Iron Man sidekick to go with their Defender series'. Hey if Jeremy Renner can campaign for a Hawkeye show than so can Don. This for 'The Hurt Locker' crowd is actually a modern warfare film from the call of duty of war machine himself Brad Pitt. Over the last few years he's taken us to World War II, back and forth and then beyond all that with Quentin Tarantino's history changing by blood 'Inglorious Basterds', the tank claustraphobic suicide squad carnage of 'Fury' and last years 'Allied' old-Hollywood, Casablanca romance with Marion Cotillard. But despite this big-three, this fourth tour is more like Chastain's 'Zero Dark Thirty' meets Clooney's 'Three Kings' for you jarheads. But can you guess the accent? I'll give you a clue...it wants its scalps! And to the inspired inflections of his voice Pitt is war ready again. This time for your go-to streaming and app-age romancing movie site Netflix. The big business 'House Of Cards' that have struck deals with the mighty Marvel like 'Orange Is The New Black' and way to watch T.V. Despite the booing for it's movies at THE film festival of Cannes, Netflix actually has no chill. Scoring big-budget exclusive picture deals like they did with Idris Elba ('Beasts Of No Nation') with Will Smith (this Winters 'Bright' L.A. cult gangland fantasty thriller) and a forthcoming Martin Scorsese gangster project with Pacino and Pesci and of course the one and only 'Goodfellas' and 'Godfather' reunion king De Niro. All this and 'Stranger Things' is still happening. Now you have to give it up for this streaming sevice like it's new four year comedy president Adam Sandler racking up 500 mill views and a standing-o at the very same Cannes that would usually can him and his new small-screen/big-picture partner. Some machines just won't stop. Let the war games begin.
Raging against the war machine. Or even the Rolling Stone magazine when Lady Gaga covered it with Madonna bra bazooka's instead of their biggest story. Pitt's Plan B production looks at the fall of General Stanley McChrystal. And the hatchet help that the National Magazine Award for excellence finalist piece 'The Runaway General' by Michael Hastings offered. One that grew into bookshelves with Hastings' 'The Operators' which exposed more of the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan's decline. The late Hastings is narrated with nostalgia and later played here by B.F.F-Leck Scoot McNairy ('Argo', 'Batman v Superman-Dawn Of Justice' and more recently Jamie Foxx's 'Sleepers') to some over-exposition, but overall a focussed finesse. The same vision Australian 'Animal Kingdom' (bringing along fellow favourite actor Anthony Hayes) and 'The Rover' director David Michod works in this self-aware satire that is at times confused (Like the real life warring nature of this true story. As Pitt's General clearly and somewhat poignantly states, "we can't help them and kill them at the same time. It's just not humanly possible"), but always compelling like the Nick Cave unleashed score that the Stones wouldn't be to cool for. Publication or Jagger. But it's Brad whose the most rad here. Pitted against it all as a warring commander whose even snubbed by the Commander in Chief himself, POTUS Barack Obama (and kudos to the off-screen actor whose nailed his jog up the steps of Air Force One even more than his voice). Pitt's voice on the other hand is that of a trademark 'Basterd' with a glorious exaggerated cariacture of his 'Inglorious' expression to go with those "motivating" speeches. Complete with 'Three Kings' camo-fatigues and a Clooney grey wig. Not to mention a clawed hand to enunciate that would make Jim Carrey's 'Liar, Liar' proud...and that's the truth. With ignited 'Fury' and 'Allied' forces God's got to love this 'Bastered'. Pitt may be playing this all up, but he's playing it up perfectly to a white-tee. And just wait until he sweats through one as you see him jog on.
Troops are deployed and sent here from all sorts of places from a casting call list that says Netflix has a lot of subscribers. 'Soprano' and 'Carol' actor John Magaro really sings. Whilst John Hughes alumni man-child Anthony Michael-Hall shouts. Think Jordan Belfort's kids and dad for this 'Wolf Of Wall Street off the concrete walls and jungle of an Afghan one. Speaking of DiCaprio, 'The Revenant' star Will Poulter of 'Maze Runner' continues his raw breakout breakthrough. Whilst the former Venom of 'Spider-Man' Topher Grace shows no humility but a lot of hilarity. It's an emotive Emory Cohen who really matures however from his 'The Place Beyond The Pines' appropriation with Dane DeHaan. Whilst 'Get Out' supporting, switching, body snatched star and 'Straight Outta Compton's' Snoop Dogg (keep a lookout for Tupac's 'All Eyez On Me') Lakeith Stanfield is stunning as a anxiety health-shocked soldier with the right to ask why like us all in todays war of the world. There's plenty of veteran legends here too that give their one in a million two-cents. Fresh off mentoring Benedict Cumberbatch's 'Doctor Strange' in the Marvels of dark arts magic, Tilda Swinton impresses as a German journalist with more than a few curveballs for our 'Moneyball' star. Whilst 'Gandhi' himself Sir Ben Kingsley is offbeat outstanding as a man whose as much as a world leader as his Trevor Slattery character was the Mandarin in 'Iron Man 3'. His introduction were you think he's kneeling down to pray is inspired. No it's not what you think...it's a lot funnier. There's even some other guy in a real nice cameo. But by the end of battle it's Brad Pitt who keeps this 'War Machine' rolling like a furious tank. This sniping American lone survivor generally speaking is in full command. A storm in this desert. Like Pacino in 'Scent Of A Woman' can I get a "oorah"!? TIM DAVID HARVEY.
See This If You Liked: 'Inglorious Basterds', 'Fury', 'Allied'.