“War on Everyone (2016)
Running Time: 97 minutes
Written & Directed by: John Michael McDonagh
Featuring: Alexander Skarsgård, Michael Peña, and Theo James
Bob Bolaño: “He called me a ‘wet back’! He knows damn well I was born here. He is a big fat racist pig is what he is.”
John Michael McDonagh is best know for his films “The Guard” (2011) and “Calvary” (2014) both featuring Brendan Gleeson in the lead roles. Even though both of these films are drams they do have moments of comedy within them. However with his latest film “War on Everyone (2016), he has written and directed an out and out black comedy that works on some levels, but lacks the drama and subtlety to be truly great. It’s a shame when someone you look forward to seeing what they will do next creates something that seems so far removed from the smart, comic drama that impressed you in the first place.
The film centers on two corrupt cops in Albuquerque, New Mexico who blackmail and frame every criminal unfortunate enough to cross their path, but things take a sinister turn when they try to intimidate someone who is more dangerous than they are.
I believe this film was supposed to be more of a satire than what it turned out to be, that could be because there was little oversight, this film must have looked great on paper, but has turned out to be less than the sum of its parts. When you have John Michael McDonagh writing and directing as well as a cast led by Alexander Skarsgård fresh of his star making “True Blood” role and Michael Peña who is getting rave reviews for his parts you would hope there would be a deeper meaning to any project they undertook – this is not really the case, this project comes off if anything as quite shallow.
There is not much to really say about this film that is positive as not only does it come off as crass and full of Tarantino lite rip offs without the humor, pastiche or homage, but it wastes any real hope of being relevant – maybe if this film had been made ten years ago it would come off better – or maybe not.
If you enjoyed the “CHiPs” (2017) from this year then this movie is for you.
Released 12th April 2017.