5 reasons to love Brad Pitt’s new Netflix movie, War Machine

A general who won’t accept defeat takes on an unwinnable war in this new, darkly absurd Netflix original film.

Last updated: 03 June 2017 - 09.58am

By now, we’re used to Netflix bringing out the big guns with its Originals programming, but Brad Pitt? That’s true Hollywood royalty choosing to hit the small screen first. However, Mr Pitt isn’t the only thing the movie has going for it…

It's based on real events

Michael Hastings’ bestselling book, The Operators, chronicled the journalist’s interactions with United States Army general Stanley McChrystal. War Machine is a fictional version of the events in the book, with Brad Pitt playing four-star General Glen McMahon, who’s drafted in to bring the Afghanistan War to an end.

It’s dark – but funny

The bombastic general has had major career successes and doesn’t see losing as an option. Civilian command just wants out of Afghanistan. The clash of opposing ideologies creates some pretty dark humour, with lines such as, ‘We can’t help them and kill them at the same time,’; ‘I can’t tell the difference between the people and the enemy, they all look the same to me,’ and, ‘No, finish your phone call, the war can wait,’ popping up.

It shows everyone can lose

In the end, it wasn’t the complexity of the conflict in Afghanistan that brought the charismatic but divisive general down, but hubris – and an exposé by a journalist. Hastings published a piece in Rolling Stone magazine featuring quotes by McChrystal and his staff, which were hugely disparaging of the Obama administration and led to his being relieved of command.

There’s a strong cast

Alongside Pitt as the general, there’s a whole host of big names, from Tilda Swinton as a German politician to Ben Kingsley as Afghan president Hamid Karzai. You’ll also recognise many more, from old faces, such as Alan Ruck of Ferris Bueller fame, to newbies, such as Will Poulter, the young Brit best known for his roles in We’re the Millers and Son of Rambow.

You can see it first – from your sofa

Yes, because it’s a Netflix original, there’s no shelling out for cinema tickets or waiting to see it on TV months afterwards – it comes to you first. Which is a pretty democratic means of distribution for a film that focuses on who’s really top dog, we must say…

Fire up that remote – War Machine comes to Netflix on 26 May. Watching Netflix through your BT TV box is quick and easy. Click here to find out how.

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