Never quite takes off. Brad Pitt shows up for duty as if he were rejoining a Steven Soderbergh production, but director David Michod can never quite match the performer's tone. Rather, Michod seems more intent on making a straight docudrama, and then flounders by adding a leaden voiceover meant to counteract his own self-seriousness. The result is that War Machine just kind of sits there, making one wish he were watching Three Kings, Charlie Wilson's War, or even Whiskey Tango Foxtrot instead--all better films War Machine will remind you of.
As it turns out Shyamalan has studied his De Palma as much as his Hitchcock, and there is definitely a lineage from Psycho through De Palma's many split-personality narratives to this. Split is better before it goes all sci-fi on us, and certainly could have used a more satisfying ending (it's a prequel disguised as a standalone feature), but otherwise a surprise from a director who has been missing a lot more than hitting for some time now.
Texts I sent to my friend who liked A Field in England while I was watching it:
"I don't understand. Are they on mushrooms? I feel like one or two more shots of them picking or eating them would have made it clear."
"I'm sorry, but this psychedelic climax is embarrassing. 1980s music videos were more clever with imagery."
"My greatest hope is that they're really Civil War re-enactors on a really bad trip, Shyamalan-style!"
In response to his reply…
In the scheme of things, one of Godard's more straightforward motion pictures. Working from a script by Philippe Setbon and producer Alain Sarde, the director makes a multi-layered crime thriller that twists and turns and folds in on itself.
The basic structure of Detective is that there are several groups of people staying in one hotel working on various sides of the law towards disparate goals that end up crossing over one another. The cast reads like a who's who…