Under the Radar

How to Military With Brad Pitt

In case you had any doubt, the new trailer makes it absolutely Brad Pitt's new movie War Machine (premiering on Netflix Friday, May 26) is a satire about the United States military.

Warning: this trailer contains actual military-style language.


Here's a neutral description of the movie: War Machine is based on Rolling Stone journalist Michael Hastings' book The Operators, which profiled the Army's mission in Afghanistan. That's the neutral version.

Here's a description with a bit more context: War Machine is based on The Operators, a book-length expansion of Hastings' notorious Rolling Stone article "The Runaway General," a profile so explosive that it effectively ended the career of General Stanley McChrystal. At the end of the drams, the DoD issued a report in 2011 that cleared the general of any significant wrongdoing. After all the drama died down, Hastings was killed in a 2013 car crash in Los Angeles. Of course, there are people who wonder if it was really an accident.

Australian writer/director David Michôd (Animal Kingdom) wisely abandoned any pretense that the movie is about General McChrystal and used the book's salacious stories as a jumping-off point for a broad satire about the military. Pitt's exaggerated facial expressions in this trailer make his outrageous performance as Lt. Aldo Raine in Inglourious Basterds look positively naturalistic by comparison.

Michôd and Pitt are aiming for something along the lines of M*A*S*H (the movie) or Catch-22 (the novel). We can all find out if they succeeded over Memorial Day weekend.

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