War Dogs is a film based on the real story of David Packouz (Miles Teller) and Efraim Diveroli (Jonah Hill), who went from being stoner drop-outs to having a million dollar contract with the Pentagon to provide weapons to Afghanistan and Iraq.
I was a bit dubious going into this, as although the trailer gave off Wolf of Wall Street vibes which was a film that I liked, I did not enjoy The Hangover. However, War Dogs was a lot better than expected.
The plot is one of those things that would be completely ridiculous were it not based in truth. Obviously there is some bending of the truth; such as a trip to the Middle East to personally deliver weapons to a screen-chewing Patrick St. Espirit. There is disappointingly little female involvement on-screen with the exception of Packouz’s girlfriend Iz (Ana de Armas) who is just there to either a) look pretty b) complain or c) be ridiculously supportive despite her boyfriend breaking international law.
However, this film is really carried by its two leading performances. I missed Whiplash, in which Teller is supposed to be amazing, so this was my first proper introduction to him. He’s a pretty likeable screen presence throughout, and is a good way in for the viewer. Hill is ridiculously good in this film too. He’s a brilliant combination of hilarious (that laugh alone) and dangerous, and is great a portraying a borderline sociopath. There was also very good support from Bradley Cooper in a brief appearance as an arms trader, Shaun Toub as Packouz & Diveroli’s driver when they’re in the Middle East and JB Blanc as their Albanian fixer.
The central message is pretty clear, and not exactly as subtle or neutral as perhaps Wolf Street was, but it does shine a pretty important light on who it is who comes out well from global tragedies.