Under the Radar is Military.com’s entertainment blog. It’s really interesting to get an interpretation of this film from the actual people who have been fighting in Afghanistan. Here’s an extract of an interview with David after War Machine premiered on Netflix:
We’re having this conversation a couple of weeks after the movie was released on Netflix. What kind of reaction are you hearing?
I tend to shut myself off from the ways in which the things I make land in the world. When I made my first movie, I tracked its progress quite closely, and I ultimately found that to be an incredibly unhealthy experience. I started to build an image of myself based on what is being said about me and the movie. Everything about that just feels toxic.
Ever since then, I kind of shut myself off a little bit, but what I have gleaned from this one has been really strange. The movie seems to be wildly divisive; and not necessarily in the ways that I had anticipated it would. I originally anticipated that it would be divisive just because it’s about war and it’s an anti-war film in a time when we don’t seem to make anti-war films anymore.
If anything, it’s actually the form of the movie that seems to be divisive. In simple terms, if you surrender to Brad’s performance and the size of it and the wildness of it, then you experience the movie as wild and bold. But if that performance and that character rubs you the wrong way, then you experience the movie as a giant mistake.
Most of the initial press about the film was about Brad Pitt premiering a movie on Netflix and whether we would know if it has a “hit.” Now that regular people have had a chance to see the movie, there seems to be a lot of interesting discussion going on. For example, our staff has been hearing from people who served in Afghanistan that you’ve nailed the absurdity of so much of what goes on there.
People who’ve actually had the experience seem to understand what you’re up to more than people who want to define it as being a movie with a particular political point of view.
I was frustrated that everyone wanted to write about it being a Netflix film. I’m proud as I am of the movie because I love how wild and crazy it is, but the wildly divisive tenor of its reception had started to make me feel like it was just sort of disappearing. The thing that caused me the greatest sadness was I’ve spent three years plus of my life working on this movie and I actually believe that, underneath its absurdity, it actually has something very important to say. The idea that it might not even spark a conversation in the places that count was causing me considerable sadness.
When I heard on the New York Times podcast that everybody at the Pentagon are talking about the film, I found that quite profoundly gratifying.
Always love hearing|reading David’s thoughts on film making. To read the full interview click HERE