I was somewhat surprised by War Dogs. (I almost wrote War Gods… that would be very wrong type of description.) Puppies describes it much better). Based on previews and trailers I had expected something of a Hangover type of crazy mess. But watching this film, sometimes you wonder if you’re watching a comedy at all. While I had no clue to start with, I was soon convinced the film is based on a true story after all.
Jonah Hill is just right for his part, without him the film would be no good at all. In fact I think the film would be better if Jonah’s part was bigger, as now Miles Teller has considerable larger share of screen time. While he really is a good casting choice for this particular part, the part itself doesn’t carry its weight very well. Also,the whole family drama surrounding him fails at building the character properly, ending up just wasting time. Talking about waste, Bradley Cooper‘s part is small, more of a cameo, and while not bad, doesn’t really add much to the story and feels a bit forced.
Despite sounding negative, the film is fairly enjoyable. Nothing spectacular about cinematography, but it looks nice enough and locations are good. I tried to enjoy it as a comedy and while it does have its funny moments, I think the way it attempts to be something other than a comedy – being a true story and all – that kind of backfires on the film.
Looking back at it, it’s simply less funny that way, maybe because it’s attempting to follow a story that really isn’t that funny. In the beginning, when I spotted the familiar ‘based on a true story’ bit, the first thing that came to my mind was Fargo. The Coen brothers had it in Fargo – which was not a true story at all. Then again, being a true story doesn’t mean that it can’t be funny – just watch Jim Carrey’s I love you Phillip Morris.
I thought I went to see just another romcom. And I thought it was weird a romcom was nominated for so many (i.e. any) Academy Awards. And I didn’t think it would win the Oscar for best actress for Jennifer Lawrence. I also didn’t expect the movie to be exceptionally good. But I did really like it. And maybe it’s more drama than romance or comedy. But if I had to categorise, it’d still be a romcom, just a good one. Or how else do you explain Robert De Niro and Chris Tucker in it (not it being good, but a romcom)?
And Bradley Cooper was good too. Probably his best role so far. But I loved Jennifer Lawrence, whether it was an Oscar Academy Award worthy performance or not.
I suppose I would have been less doubtful had I known David O. Russell did The Fighter and Three Kings, although The Fighter was nothing like The Wrestler. In fact this was probably best movie by him that I’ve seen.
I try to go to cinema without knowing what to expect and I didn’t expect this. But in a good way. And I guess it’s not a surprise as such. But the structure of the film is slightly different from the usual; it’s not Psycho, but still. I did feel it was a bit disjointed though and the film lost some of its momentum halfway, but I didn’t let it bother me too much.