War Dogs

I have never been a big fan of Jonah Hill’s movies.  Add to that the fact that I disliked the look of the trailers for Hill’s latest film, War Dogs, you could say that I was not anticipating this film.

And yet, I came out of it really entertained.

WarDogs is the true story of David Packouz  (Miles Teller) and Efraim Diveroli (Jonah Hill), former junior high friends who found each other later in life.  David was a down on his luck masseuse trying to sell bed linen and Efraim was an arms dealer filling small weapon deals for the US government.  Efraim offered David a job working together and soon, the company AEY was flying high.

After a harrowing experience moving guns through the Triangle of Terror in Iraq, David and Efraim focused on winning a huge contract with the US government that would lead to them arming the Afghan military.  In order to fulfill the contract, which included providing 100 million ammo, Efraim and David had to make a deal with international arms dealer Henry Gerard (Bradley Cooper).

The film is very much based on the two main leads, and their chemistry really carry the film.  Jonah Hill and Miles Teller are excellent together and you can see them as old friends going through this together.  But you can also see how damaged Efraim is and how the paranoia of success and his uncertainty of believe in the human spirit led to the end of the pair.  Efraim is tainted and it was just a matter of time until he brought everything crashing down.

David has a second relationship in the film, this one with his wife Iz (Ana de Armas).  Iz was beautiful and was so willing to accept David for what he was, but she could not stand the lies.  We see how the relationship between this couple was damaged and then grew stronger as David realized that he was heading down a path that was only going to lead to loss.

The movie had some good comedic moments, but the drama of the two characters was the most important aspect.  There was a lot of deplorable people on display here and how David fits into the narrative is an important through line.  David even brought his personal code of honor to his work.  Efraim was the opposite, seeing the debauchery instead.

I enjoyed War Dogs through the entire run of the film.  The pacing was solid.  The performances of Hill and Teller were exceptional.  The story was unbelievable despite being a true story.  The film really showed how lowlife manipulators took advantage of the Iraq War during the early 2000’s and how easy the government of the US made it for these scumbags.  It also looked at the life of one of those scumbags that was not quite as crooked as the others.

I did not look forward to War Dogs, but, looking back, I surely enjoyed it.

3.8 stars


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