A General from the U.S. is sent to Afghanistan to "clean" the situation up after eight years of war in the country. He finds himself amongst tired soldiers and disillusioned politicians eager to leave. In this situation, he feels his mission is to "win" the war, something deemed impossible by everyone around him.Written by
During the introductory sequence of General McMahon, the narrator states he "placed a cherry bomb in his drill sergeants ass." General McMahon entered the US Army through commissioning as an officer. Officers don't have a basic training with drill sergeants. See more »
Ah, America. You beacon of composure and proportionate response, you bringer of calm and goodness to the world... What do you do when the war you're fighting just can't possibly be won in any meaningful sense? Well, obviously, you sack the guy not winning it and you bring in some other guy. In 2009, that war was Afghanistan, and that other guy... was Glen.
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It wasn't a movie I enjoyed very much, but it was a good movie. You can feel it in your guts. It's a description of the US operations in Afghanistan, and I had expected a liberal viewpoint that made fun of the mess there. But it wasn't so. It actually showed viewpoints from multiple perspectives.
Brad Pitt plays a general, newly appointed to the region in order to "fix things". And he is trying to. He fights bureaucracy, politicians, and insurgents alike in order to get things done. He has a faithful group of subordinates who worship him and help him do whatever he wants. Ironically, his technical approach makes him the enemy of the US administration, which only needs to show they are trying, without actually having to succeed. Ben Kingsley has a few scenes as president Karzai that are ridiculously funny, too. "But I am acting as a leader. I am unavailable", he says in one scene. Hilarious.
In the end, one cannot but sympathize with a guy who wants to end the war, militarily or course, by unequivocally winning it, regardless of what human issues are hindering the victory. He has a job to do, even if it's obvious no one wants him to do it. The movie shows how these kinds of "wars" were never meant to be won, even if you had someone actually trying to.
Bottom line: A movie is impressive when it manages to portray a US army general as a simple task oriented technician, hired like you would hire a plumber to do a job. It gets even more impressive when it shows how impossible that job really is. And the acting was great. The mood was a little too deadpan for me. It is something that amuses you internally while you wonder why everything is moving so slow. I believe this was deliberate, in order for the viewer to understand a little bit of how slow things are really moving in the real world.
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