Wednesday, May 31, 2017

There's No Fighting in the War Machine

They don't make movies like this anymore. That's all I kept thinking while watching David Michôd's War Machine -- they literally don't make sixty million dollar movies about people standing around talking like this anymore. Four hundred million dollar movies about people wearing capes standing around talking on top of buildings that are crashing to the ground, sure. One million dollar movies about people standing around talking about their broken souls, oh yes. But War Machine is all, nothing, either, or, neither and nor. 

So what works best in its favor is thinking these outside thoughts because then you appreciate the movie more than you appreciate the movie on its own modest terms. Knowing that Netflix mustered up this budget and made this movie happen with a stellar cast who we like to see stand around and talk and with a fine director like Michôd makes me want to look for things to like. 

It isn't a monstrous task! The movie's amiable and moves at a brisk enough pace. It has a... nice personality, in other words. A razor sharp satire about modern war... notsomuch. It likes its enemy too much. But as a gingerly step in the right direction War Machine manages to untangle some thorny knots about the absurd emptiness of the "winning" mindset. It should probably be angrier. There's a nice intrusion of anger - delivered genially and shaped like Tilda Swinton - for a hot minute that's worth its weight in Swinton. But the movie's more sad than anything, and I just don't know if "sad" is what any of us are quite looking for right this moment.

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