WWII American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, who served during the Battle of Okinawa, refuses to kill people, and becomes the first man in American history to receive the Medal of Honor without firing a shot.
Two friends in their early 20s (Hill and Teller) living in Miami Beach during the Iraq War exploit a little-known government initiative that allows small businesses to bid on U.S. Military contracts. Starting small, they begin raking in big money and are living the high life. But the pair gets in over their heads when they land a 300 million dollar deal to arm the Afghan Military - a deal that puts them in business with some very shady people, not the least of which turns out to be the U.S. Government. Based on true events. Written by
The real Efraim Diveroli declined to meet with Jonah Hill. Hill said "I'm used to it. If a person is aggressively against me playing them, it's probably a good sign." See more »
Even If re-packing the AK-47 7.62 bullets, with changing Chinese Boxes to plastic Bags, each Bullet Would have a clear factory information and production year in head-stamp. See more »
So, I don't get it. If there's an entire defense industry, why would the Pentagon want to buy anything from you?
They don't want to, they have to. Remember Little League? How, at the end of the season, they'd give out that big MVP trophy and that one kid would always win it?
Yeah, Evan Talbot.
Right. But then, one year, somebody's mom complained? Then they had to give everybody a little trophy so they wouldn't feel bad? Even that fat retarded kid. Robbie Friedman, got one. That's kind of like ...
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Entertaining true-life tale that doesn't have the nerve to go all the way
There were many shocking and quite unbelievable stories to emerge from the U.S. during the Bush/Cheney administration, but none were quite as fantastical as the overwhelming position 20-something minor-league arms dealers Efraim Diveroli and David Packouz found themselves in. Their tale is utterly preposterous, but entirely true, although events naturally have been dramatised for the film. Like something straight out of a culture-clash comedy from the 1980s, Diveroli and Packouz landed a $298 million Pentagon contract involving over a hundred million rounds of ammunition. The mishandling of the deal and the pair's subsequent falling out was covered in a Rolling Stone article by Guy Lawson, and later in a book by Lawson entitled Arms and the Dudes.
David Packouz (Miles Teller) is a pot-smoking massage therapist working in Miami, Florida, dividing his spare time between his girlfriend Iz (Ana de Armas) and trying, somewhat unsuccessfully, to flog the high-quality Egyptian bed-sheets that he has invested in to retirement homes. At a funeral, he encounters his old best friend Efraim (Jonah Hill), who has made a success in Los Angeles trading in arms on eBay. They rekindle their friendship, despite Efraim proving himself to be a unpredictable loose-cannon, and David eventually joins his chum at his new business venture AEY. With the war raging in Iraq, the government has set up a website offering contracts for weapons and military equipment. David's job is to pick up the crumbs; those small orders the big companies ignore.
There are, as Efraim informs David, a hell of a lot of crumbs, and the two are soon making their fortunes while Efraim indulges in everything from prostitutes to copious amounts of cocaine. The two grew up loving Brian De Palma's Scarface (1983), and imagery from the film adorns AEY's office walls. The same unquenchable greed that possessed Al Pacino's character seems to drive Efraim also, and it isn't long before you can see the inevitable downfall on the horizon. Director Todd Phillips, on the back of those terrible The Hangover sequels, seems to be intent on making a semi-serious film, and wisely takes inspiration from some of America's great dark-side- of-the-American-dream cinematic works, such as De Palma's aforementioned drug-lord saga and Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas (1990). But, unlike Adam McKay's The Big Short from last year, Phillips doesn't have the nerve to go all the way.
Where McKay exquisitely balanced comedy, drama and satire to dazzling effect, Phillips seems too intent on focusing on the goofball antics of its hapless anti-heroes to deliver any real bite. This is a story that highlights many things from the government's irresponsible approach to warfare, the dangerous practice of allowing just anybody to legally deal in arms, and the devastating effects of blind ambition, but these themes are only touched upon. Packouz is essentially our lead character, but he feels like little more than an exposition tool, with de Armas getting the thankless role of the boring partner who must warn her hubby whenever his actions lead him into the dark side. Thankfully, Jonah Hill is a tour de force, cranking his loathsome character up to 11 without ever feeling unbelievable, proving once again what a versatile actor he is becoming. If you're looking for an intelligent satire of a fascinating recent event, then you probably won't find it here, but as a piece of entertainment, it certainly delivers.
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