Most people are going to want to see this film based on the trailer alone. It looks like a funny and adventurous heist movie of some sort. While it’s not a comedy in the truest sense, it’s just light enough to keep the audience involved.
The film follows two twenty-somethings, Miles Teller and Jonah Hill, as they venture to the top of the international arms dealer industry. Amidst the war in Iraq, they use unorthodox techniques to fulfill US military contracts.
War Dogs gets a little wordy when it’s setting things up. Also, Teller’s voiceover goes on a little bit too long at times. But while verbose when explaining things, it covers a lot of ground answering most of our questions in a Big Short type of way. Thus, a potentially byzantine premise never becomes convoluted.
Teller plays David Packouz, the antiwar protagonist who is contributing to the war effort out of financial necessity. He’s good, but Hill arguably carries the film, playing the real-life Efraim Diveroli. He’s basically a selfish scumbag who could double as a mob boss at any given moment. Hill broadens his range as an actor with this role, proving he can play sinister along with his goofy trademark. He’s so deceptively creepy that we become literally afraid of him.
Genre-wise, it might seem to be stuck in limbo, but it’s not. The comedy is evenly written and is balanced consistently into the drama. The exposition is fast-paced and doesn’t require us to look back scratching our heads.
War Dogs doesn’t necessarily explore any new territory as far as the life of a criminal goes, but it’s educational and entertaining every step of the way.