Netflix’s latest feature film is called War Machine and it has become a big deal in several ways.
The film combines the celebrity power of Brad Pitt and the unique indie credibility of David Michôd, who also directed of Animal Kingdom.
Big themes are discussed: the absurdity of war and the ambition of men. The film is Based on The Operators, a book about controversial US army general Stanley McChrystal and takes place on a big scale, all the way across Afghanistan and back in the corridors of DC.
“We knew early on that we were making the kind of movie that doesn’t really get made by the studios any more,” says Michôd.
In 2015, the distribution rights were handed over to Netflix in exchange for, says Michôd, “the ability to make films that are unusual and risky with the resources to do it properly”.
However, not every section of the film industry has been as open-minded.
The Cannes film festival keeps insisting that, as of next year, all Palme d’Or contenders must be released in French cinemas. And since French law requires a 36-month window between theatrical release and streaming date, this effectively prevents Netflix from the competition.