REVIEW: WAR MACHINE

CAST

Brad Pitt (World War Z)
Anthony Hayes (Suburban Mayhem)
Emory Cohen (Brooklyn)
RJ Cyler (Power Rangers)
Daniel Betts (Fury)
Topher Grace (That 70s Show)
Anthony Michael Hall (The Dead Zone)
John Magaro (The Box)
Scoot McNairy (Batman V Sueprman)
Meg Tilly (Psycho II)
Sian Thomas (Vanity Fair)
Alan Ruck (Speed)
Nicholas Jones (Vera Drake)
Griffin Dunne (My Girl)
Ben Kingsley (Iron Man 3)
Reggie Brown (Barbershop: The Next Cut)
Tilda Swinton (The Chronicles of Narnia)
Will Poulter (We’re The Millers)
Keith Stanfield (Get Out)
Josh Stewart (The Dark Knight Rises)
Georgina Rylance (New Tricks)
Russell Crowe (Man of Steel)

In the summer of 2009, Four-star General Glen McMahon (Brad Pitt), having won renown for his effective leadership in Iraq, is sent to Afghanistan to prepare an assessment so that the government can end the ongoing war. He is given wide latitudes to write it, on the sole condition that he not request more troops. McMahon and his staff, particularly his right hand man Major General Greg Pulver (Anthony Michael Hall), are united in their belief that the war can be won, and decide to recommend that President Obama authorize a surge of 40,000 additional troops to secure Helmand province in order to stabilize the country. However, the Secretary of State (Sian Thomas) informs McMahon that his report will not be reviewed until after the upcoming presidential election.Captain Badi Basim (Aymen Hamdouchi), a member of the ANA, joins McMahon’s staff as a “representative” of the Afghan people. Meanwhile, McMahon is informed that, due to alleged irregularities in the counting of votes, a runoff election will have to be held, delaying the review of the assessment further. Fed up, McMahon secretly leaks the assessment to the Washington Post and organizes an interview with 60 Minutes, during which he reveals that, in the last seventy days, he has only been granted one meeting with the president. In response, the government announces that they will send 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, and that all US and coalition forces in the country will leave in 18 months. To gather the remaining 10,000 troops needed for his strategy to work, McMahon and his men head to Paris to negotiate with the other coalition nations.In Paris, McMahon learns that the president is passing through, and wishes to meet with him. The ambassador to Afghanistan (Alan Ruck) warns McMahon that he needs to understand his position: if he continues to anger the president, he will be fired for insubordination. The president ultimately decides to cancel the meeting due to time constraints, and McMahon and his staff attend a dinner in his honor, accompanied by Rolling Stone writer Sean Cullen (Scoot McNairy), who intends to write a feature story about his performance for an upcoming issue. The next day, during their anniversary dinner, McMahon’s wife Jeanie confronts him about how much time he’s spending fighting abroad instead of being with his family back home.While on route to Berlin with McMahon’s staff to continue negotiations, Cullen observes their behavior and concludes that they are arrogant and seem to care little about the growing public perception that the war is costly and wasteful. At a conference to discuss his strategy, McMahon is confronted by a German official (Tilda Swinton) who is skeptical of his approach and suggests that McMahon’s plans would only lead to more losses. Nevertheless, both the Germans and the French agree to furnish the troops needed for his planned offensive, codenamed “Operation Moshtarak”, to begin, with Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s (Ben Kingsley) approval.The operation launches, but soon runs into trouble when several civilians are accidentally killed against McMahon’s instructions. When he holds a public meeting to explain the incident, the crowd grows hostile and demands that he and his troops leave. Worse, McMahon learns that Cullen’s article has been published, and paints a negative picture of him and his staff as openly speaking against the president and mishandling the war effort. Knowing that he will be fired for his actions, McMahon returns to Washington and later takes a job as a civilian consultant. In the aftermath, Cullen ponders the consequences of his article, noting that he wished the fall of McMahon would finally convince the government to stop invading foreign countries and end the war in Afghanistan. Instead, however, the government simply assigns a new general to replace McMahon: General Bob White (Russell Crowe).When a political movie runs the risk of offending both Conservatives and Liberals it’s one we should all see. This movie is hilarious, heartfelt, thought-provoking… bad-ass. And, regardless of your politics, it’ll make you appreciate our troops even more.

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