War Dogs

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Director: Todd Phillips

Writers (screenplay): Stephen Chin, Todd Phillips; Jason Smilovic

Based on an article written by Guy Lawson, “Arms and the Dudes” published in Rolling Stone (2011)

Starring: Miles Tellers, Jonah Hill, Ana de Armas; Bradley Cooper.

When does telling the truth ever help anybody?  Is the title of a chapter in War Dogs.  Ironic in that the film is based on the true story written by Guy Lawson: a fascinating exposé about two 20-something year-old’s who put together what is now known as the Afghanistan arms deal worth $300 million dollars.

But War Dogs isn’t an action-packed war movie, this incredible story is about two mates seeing an opportunity and taking it.

It’s not about war, it’s about making money.

Combining this have-to-see-to-believe story with a great soundtrack (I’m talking golden oldies such as Creedence Clearwater), director Todd Phillips has brought to life the two characters, David Packouz (Miles Teller) and Efraim Diveroli (Jonah Hill): The laugh Jonah Hill gives his character Efraim is unforgettable.

And I just had to laugh at the balls of these kids.  You can’t make this stuff up.  What a story and well worth reading the article originally published in Rolling Stone back in 2011: Arms and the Dudes.

I saw a recent interview on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon where Jonah talks about War Dogs and the need for a daily slathering of fake tan because he was allergic to the stuff.  Combined with the laugh and standout performance from Jonah, Efraim was the highlight of the film for me. And then there’s the legendary Henry played by Bradley Cooper: an arms dealer who was said to have sourced the rope to hang Saddam Hussein after he was convicted of crimes against humanity.

These guys are the bottom feeders, where War Dogs are those who make money out of the misery of war without ever seeing combat.

This is a film to get people talking, to shake at the incredulous cunning and open for business policy of the American Government.  And I congratulate director Todd Phillips for getting the feel just right.

The film is shown as a series of chapters, a telling example entitled: I love Dick Cheney’s American War.  And reminiscent of, The Hangover trilogy, the voice-over narrative of Miles Teller as David Packouz gives the story a personal touch.

The freeze mid-action gives the audience a chance to absorb the craziness where if someone were to tell you this story, it would be too far out there to be believed: The American government posting arms contracts to the general public for 20 year-old’s to bid on and win?

Making such an incredible story believable with fantastic acting (Jonah Hill, what a legend) and thought put into the pacing of the film, gives War Dogs a winning quality.

Whether the truth of the story will help anyone is a statement worth discussion, but War Dogs is certainly entertaining and thought-provoking.

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