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
Director Todd Phillips, mostly famous for The Hangover trilogy, decided to make a military/economic thriller. It sounds as quite a radical change, but after a few seconds, it's clear that War Dogs will employ the absurd and surrealistic humor Phillips is accustomed to work with. The only difference is that War Dogs is based on true events... something which makes it more cynical and disturbing. Miles Teller and Jonah Hill make an excellent work as traders with temperaments which are very different, but well balanced in order to flourish in the unpredictable world of guns trafficking. War Dogs isn't strictly a comedy. There are wide doses of humor, but beneath the laughs, there is a serious anti-war manifest which doesn't only aim at denouncing war in itself, but also the huge political and economic apparatus feeding from the conflict... ie, the death and suffering of uncountable innocents. That isn't a message traditionally expressed with lightness, but co-screenwriters Phillips, Stephen Chin and Jason Smilovic make it work in both the didactic and recreational levels. War Dogs undoubtedly belongs to Teller and Hill, but the supporting cast also makes a perfect work in their roles, highlighting Ana de Armas and the great Kevin Pollak. Some people are comparing War Dogs to The Wolf of Wall Street, but I found it more similar to The Big Short, which examined the economic collapse of Wall Street. Both were made by directors specialized in comedies, and despite dealing with serious themes, their executions employed humor in order to make the hard truths they revealed more accessible. I would consider War Dogs a bit inferior to The Big Short, but it still deserves an enthusiastic recommendation as a fascinating film which leaves us thinking for a long while after we leave the cinema. Each person will know if they stay thinking "How is it possible for things like that to happen?" or "How can I get into that business?".
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