The true story of David Packouz and Ephraim Diveroli, two young men
who secured a $300 million dollar weapons contract from the military.
War Dogs (2016)
Directed by Todd Phillips
Written by Stephen Chin, Todd Phillips, Jason Smilovic
Starring Jonah Hill, Miles Teller, Ana de Armas, Bradley Cooper, Kevin Pollak, Patrick St. Esprit, Shaun Toub, JB Blanc, Gabriel Spahiu
Based on the magazine article Arms and the Dudes by Guy Lawson
Though it isn't really a comedy, War Dogs succeeds in the same way films like The Big Short and The Wolf of Wall Street succeed; by showing the American public how people manipulated loopholes in our legal system to make themselves millionaires. War Dogs is entertaining, though it's also frustrating. In times of war, America relies on private companies to secure weapons for our troops. Remarkably, not all of these companies are kosher. This is the story of one such company, AEY Inc., and its owners, Ephraim Diveroli and David Packouz.
Both Jonah Hill and Miles Teller deliver great performances, even if their characters are essentially war profiteers benefiting from human suffering. The most interesting character was Bradley Cooper's portrayal of international arms dealer Henry Girard. I don't know if the film told the whole story or embellished, but Cooper's role in the film brought a whole new side of international crime to the story. Unfortunately, we don't get much focus on that. War Dogs shines a light on the incredibly lax laws the government has in place regarding private sector weapons deals. There are hundreds of companies doing the same thing Diveroli and Packouz were doing. They were just the ones who got caught.
One of my only gripes with the film is that it shouldn't have been billed as a comedy. It has a couple comedic moments, but it's mostly a crime drama that used Jonah Hill's comedy career to put people in seats. Ironically, it fits with the constant bait-and-switching that happens throughout the film. Like a lot of modern biopics, War Dogs will make you angry at the current state of the American government and make you wonder how something so blatantly illegal could go on for so long. In this respect, War Dogs is a good movie.