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Brad Pitt Looks Like a Counter-Terrorism Ken Doll in ‘War Machine’ Trailer

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Unless your name happens to be Kathryn Bigelow (and if it is, then may I say that it’s a pleasure, Ms. Bigelow. Big Point Break fan.), Hollywood has had a lot of trouble figuring out how to portray the Global War on Terror. The odd movies that have succeeded critically or financially — Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper — take an ambivalent stance on a complicated and nuanced geopolitical situation, but many more have attempted the same and floundered. So it’s with memories of the high-profile failure of one-time Oscar hopeful Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk that we greet the trailer for War Machine, Netflix’s latest foray into this risky genre.

Australian filmmaker David Michod turns to the online streaming giant for his third and most high-profile feature, and it looks like his take on the conflict in the Middle East will be marked by blackly comic satire. The moment that Brad Pitt, rocking a flawless silver coiffure like some kind of Counter-Terrorism Ken doll, tells a general to “take your phone call, the war can wait,” it’s clear that we’re cutting right to the blithely absurd heart of the quagmire. Pitt plays a semi-fictionalized version of General Stanley McChrystal, the commander of International and U.S. operations in Afghanistan, as he fails upwards, downwards, side-to-side, and in circles.

Michod’s a true talent, having already conquered the crime epic with Animal Kingdom and the post-apocalyptic drama with The Rover (a film that includes this sequence), so hopes should be high for War Machine. He’s got a strong supporting cast as well: we see Tilda Swinton with a tough query at a Q&A, Lakeith Stanfield confessing he can’t tell soldiers from civilians, and Ben Kingsley as a military higher-up. On pedigree alone, it’s already outdone the likes of similar-minded satires Whiskey Tango Foxtrot and Rock the Kasbah. The film invades Netflix on May 26.

Netflix Acquires ‘War Machine’

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