Probably the last thing you’d expect from the director of gritty Aussie crime drama Animal Kingdom is a searing, Coen brothers-level satire of the American war in Afghanistan — but that’s exactly what David Michod delivered with War Machine. In his new film, which premieres exclusively on Netflix, Brad Pitt stars in a role that’s a not-so-subtle take on a certain four-star General who heads overseas to clean up a political mess, but despite his arrogance, he doesn’t leave things much different than he found them.

Pitt (styled in the manner of a Ken Doll hijacked by G.I. Joes) leads an all-star cast that includes — deep breath — Tilda Swinton, Ben Kingsley, Emory Cohen, RJ Cyler, Topher Grace, Anthony Michael Hall, Anthony Hayes, John Magaro, Scoot McNairy, Will Poulter, Alan Ruck, Lakeith Stanfield (recently seen in Get Out), and Josh Stewart. Here’s the official synopsis:

In a film for our times, writer-director David Michôd (Animal Kingdom) recreates a U.S. General’s roller-coaster rise and fall as part reality, part savage parody – raising the specter of just where the line between them lies today. His is an anti-establishment, pro-soldier exploration in the form of an absurdist war story of a born leader’s ultra-confident march right into the dark heart of folly. At the story’s core is Brad Pitt’s sly take on a successful, charismatic four-star general who leapt in like a rock star to command NATO forces in Afghanistan, only to be taken down by his own hubris and a journalist’s no-holds-barred expose. War Machine addresses the debt we owe to soldiers to question the purposes to which they are being directed.


Based on the book The Operators: The Wild & Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan by the late journalist Michael Hastings, War Machine hits Netflix on May 26.