May 26

'War Machine'

By MEG IRISH | STARS AND STRIPES Published: April 30, 2017

As a fan of Stanley Kubrick’s “Dr. Strangelove,” I have to ask, Who doesn’t want to see a move featuring a general who crosses that frighteningly thin line from total command to bat**t crazy? Not that such a transition should be totally unsuspected. It seems sometimes that, for every great leader, there are at least a dozen or more poseurs who take more interest in their own fame and fortune than in the job they were hired to do.

“War Machine” appears primed to deliver a thorough unmasking of its lead character, Gen. McMahon, and the hubris he brings with him to “winning the war” in Afghanistan. Maybe watching that happen shouldn’t be fun, but my guess is that a lot of people will be enjoying it with me.

Much as we celebrate charisma in this country, it’s refreshing to contemplate what sometimes lurks beneath it. “War Machine” sounds like it plans to illustrate the trajectory from born leader to persona non grata with a certain gritty humor. And you can’t beat the cast lineup: Brad Pitt, Ben Kingsley, Anthony Michael Hall and Tilda Swinton.

That just makes it extra fun to watch.

“War Machine” premieres on Netflix on May 26.

Brad Pitt in the Netflix movie "War Machine."