I love movies like this. Cynical, realistic, and surprisingly vibrant for a movie about arms dealers, War Dogs is also loosely based on a true story. We will be following two guys chasing the American dream. And that dream is to hustle hard doing whatever is necessary to get that green. And if that includes selling weapons to the US military, then you’re in luck. I just love how War Dogs instantly dismantles all the patriotic and melodramatic aspects of US wars around the world. It’s all about the money dog and soldiers are nothing more than disposable mannequins you need to dress up in expensive equipment.
I know that some of you will be put off by the fact that War Dogs is technically a war movie. However, it’s also a movie about two guys who started a company and made it big. So, it’s got that entrepreneurial angle and the volatile dynamics between Efraim Diveroli and David Packouz. One of them is an unguided missile driven purely by greed. And the other is the rational one, trying to keep the whole thing working. One without the other would not succeed. Jonah Hill and Miles Teller play them in this movie giving incredible performances. Jonah was especially hilarious.
This reminds me to tell you that War Dogs is actually a comedy. It’s a black comedy for sure but comedy nonetheless. The pacing is fast, the script funny and the production values great. Everything you would need from this semi-mainstream and highly subversive movie. It reminds me of American Made, another true story adaptation about a guy chasing the American dream with a little help from US officials. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention spellbinding Ana de Armas in one of her first roles in Hollywood. Each time she appeared in a scene it was like I was hypnotized.
Welcome to the beautiful state of Florida folks! The weather is sunny and the joints are strong. This is where we find David Packouz, a masseuse who’s about to visit his client. He’s struggling financially to make ends meet so when his childhood friend Efraim Diveroli asks him to join his company, David agrees. It turns out that Efraim is making a lot of money by selling arms to the US military. He’s got a special strategy he uses and it’s working flawlessly. It would seem that only the sky is the limit for these two hustlers. However, as we all, know, what comes up, must come down. And come down hard…
Of course, they’re from Florida, I mean, did you think they would be from somewhere else? War Dogs offers a sprawling story that’s going to take us around the world. From Jordan over Iraq to Albania, this movie simply refuses to slow down. It exposes the military-industrial complex completely showing just how much money wars generate. And it also shows just how fucking loose the regulations are around these topics. I mean, if everybody is making money using basically free tax-payer money, what motivation do they have to stop this gravy train?
If you’re looking for movies like War Dogs, your first stop should be Lord of War starring Nic Cage. Charlie Wilson’s War offers a bit more serious story while Air America leans towards action more. Finally, I just want to mention Todd Phillips, the director of this movie. After making a lot of great comedies like Road Trip, Old School, and The Hangover trilogy, this was his first semi-serious movie. The next one, however, was on another level. Starring Joaquin Phoenix Joker remains one of the most popular movies of the last five years. These days, he’s busy a making a sequel to the masterpiece.
Director: Todd Phillips
Writers: Stephen Chin, Todd Phillips, Jason Smilovic
Cast: Jonah Hill, Miles Teller, Ana de Armas, Kevin Pollak, Bradley Cooper, JB Blanc, Shaun Toub
Fun Facts: When Miles Teller arrives at the retirment home to sell his sheets, the guy playing the guitar is the real David Packouz.