War Dogs, while heavily embellished and fictionalized when it comes to the plot of the main characters, still manages to show a realistic representation of the side of war that’s not often shown, the dollar bills yo.
The film directed by Todd Phillips (The Hangover trilogy) and starring Miles Teller (Whiplash) and Jonah Hill (lots of stuff) starts out strong, providing laughs and an interesting story. The film hits its peak around the middle but then goes down hill from there, eventually petering out to a slow and underwhelming finish.
The film does a good job on shedding a light on a topic that not many of the world know about, the big business behind wars. While it does not do a good of a job as a film like The Big Short (focused on the GFC) did in approaching a large eco-political issue, it still was able to present it in an informative and entertaining manner which makes it worth watching.
The film is worth watching alone for the indescribably hilarious laugh that Jonah Hill deploys. It feels odd saying his laugh was the highlight of the film but it truly was I am still doing it to myself now at home as I do this (I sound insane). Hill’s performance was solid but he was much more charismatic during the more lighthearted parts of the film than opposed to when the film took a more serious turn.
Miles Teller did a serviceable job but still failed to live up to the hype that has surrounded him after Whiplash, as he was unable to keep up with Hill, and also struggled in the later stages of the film. Teller also had little onscreen chemistry with his onscreen girlfriend played by Ana De Armas. Bradley Cooper was used to add some gravitas and veteran star power, but his character mostly fell felt as he failed to prove a performance to tie the film together.
Director Phillips had the right vision and I thought he nailed it through the first two thirds of the film, but he struggled with pacing and handling the most dramatic parts of the story. Most of the editing choices were good, but the choice to title each chapter of the film with an upcoming line was a little too reminiscent of Fraiser (maybe it’s because I watched it this morning). One area that this film nailed was the musical score by Cliff Martinez which was diverse and fitted each scene perfectly.
Overall, the film struggled to bring everything together to make a complete film, but it provides an interesting and informative look at money behind war and provides an important perspective. This film is worth seeing for that reason and Jonah Hill’s laugh, just don’t expect a masterpiece.
Rating 6/10; Genre 6/10