War Dogs is a crime biopic made thoroughly exciting by its cast. I have always enjoyed watching a Todd Phillips movie. It doesn’t rip you apart with humour alone but also thrives on a great theme throughout, primarily with a story that makes every bit delectable. The bottom-line is that there is always something to look up to in his frames, and that makes the imminent, full of promises.
War Dogs is no different. The biopic though fictionalized beyond limit to scooch in theatrics, comes out as an enjoyable piece that shatters doors of gravitas to bring that smile to your face. What work for the movie are hands down mind-boggling performances by its duo, and its uncanny witty theme. Where at one hand, Jonah Hill makes his character one of the most cherishable ones ever, Miles Teller cannot certainly be overlooked either with his riveting gazing mien that brings profundity to the cinema. Both of them, with their dynamic chemistry together, make War Dogs a fun yet intriguing watch.
PLOT OF WAR DOGS
The plot is basically an intensified theatrical look into the lives of Efraim Diveroli and David Packouz. With David joining his high school friend Efraim in his pursuit to supply arms and ammunition to the US army, the movie gets into the fine detailing of how their jobs were pulled off. It is a sheer mockery of the then existent feeble policies of US that saw opportunists getting their hands warm in the Iraq and Afghanistan fire.
War Dogs begins with a brilliant diegetic tone from David’s perspective, and delves into the story of David’s life even before he meets Efraim.
“War is an economy. Anybody who tells you otherwise is either in on it or stupid.”
War Dogs is divided into various chapters with lines of crises from its own screenplay for chapter names. Each section gives away what is about to happen which isn’t actually the best way of storytelling to be honest. It takes out that element of surprise of what’s coming from it. But you have to give it to Todd for his creativity to weave Guy Lawson’s Rolling Stone article “Arms and the Dudes” into something tangible.
At one point when you almost begin to think, if War Dogs is just meant to caper all along on its fun theme, the movie proves you wrong almost instantly. You see it enter deeper waters. Drama becomes impactful and you realize all that hourly fun of awesomeness is heading straight for the deep muck they had signed their checks for. Dramatics come galloping then and it levels the movie with its theatrics giving it a perspective and a direction.
DOWNSIDES OF WAR DOGS (SPOILERS INCLUSIVE)
If you stare hard at the downsides of War Dogs you will see how much of the detailing have actually been overlooked. To show you what you wish to see, a lot of the backdrop is made to disappear in your subconsciousness. A city in despair doesn’t feel like it when you visit it through Todd’s fun frames. There is no real tension you perceive. It wasn’t intended to get serious at any point, I surmise.
Also, you can say the same by looking at the character Iz played by Ana de Armas. Tension is not allowed to transpire at all. She ends up becoming nothing but a nagging wife.
War Dogs also elongates the Iraq visit too much, creating dispensable humour for one Dick Cheney’s America scene, which seemed quite unnecessary. It feels like Todd might have had some extra time frames to cover or might have ran out of substance. So, he creates something that actually didn’t happen.
I really wished a profound character came along to show the perpetrators what they were actually dealing with. Why war is not what they think what it is. The gravity of working with elements of chaos as if they were playthings of a child; I think it was important to show them the misery they were offering.
They get a poetic justice in the end, which was nicely wrapped up. A surprise visit by Henry Girard played by Bradley Cooper, who prefers wearing sunglasses, felt justified on the levels of David’s morality. But when the question is posed about Bashkim’s whereabouts, Henry shuts him with money, thus leaving all his threads out in the open.
At the end of it all, you have to understand, both Efraim Diveroli and David Packouz were really bad men. The way the movie gets manifested is as if what the actors were doing was a good thing. A context that its direction feeds you, and it is sad that something rogue and out of line like that gets celebrated.
You can’t help but notice how the movie only plays out on the vantage of David Packouz’s perspective. It puts him in the spotlight as a person who had a conscience whilst slaying Efraim’s brazen demeanour altogether. At what point in the movie does Efraim ever realize what he did was wrong? Well, never!
OTHER ASPECTS TO NOTICE
War Dogs is thoroughly entertaining. It has plenty of humour all of it coming from Jonah Hill’s natural knack for it. Miles Teller brings percipience to the story. It always gives us pleasure watching people get insanely rich. It brings smile to our faces, and that’s what primarily the movie tries to earn its green on for the better part. In the later part, we see the decline, which is a fit downhill ride anyway.
Oh and whatever happens, don’t ask Efraim the full form of AEY. Watch out for that bit!
SCREENPLAY OF WAR DOGS
The movie’s screenplay is abounding with beautiful lines, at times touching rare levels of contemplation.
“I miss not taking shit from anyone.”
Miles Teller’s diegesis continues throughout the flick dropping brilliant lines that transcends War Dogs altogether. Some lines are subtly put as well, leaving things for viewer’s imagination.
“No questions asked.”
THE FINAL VERDICT
It is hard not to compare War Dogs with the likes of Lord of War. What Andrew Niccol had created was undoubtedly and effortlessly smart, something you see War Dogs struggling with at numerous points. But it still manages to rope you in with Miles Teller’s rapt eyes and Jonah Hill’s engaging performance despite the theme movie tries to cash in on.
Despite, how good the movie turns out to be it still remains unscrupulous nevertheless.
What you would definitely take from this movie would be Jonah’s signature laugh; no doubt about that.
Check out the trailer of War Dogs movie here: