(Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)
Actor Jonah Hill might become the Tom Hanks of this generation.
Hill’s talents are equally impressive in dramas as they are in comedies.
“War Dogs” is the perfect vehicle to utilize all of his talents, down to the distinct laugh of his character, Efraim Diveroli.
Efraim and his childhood best friend David Packouz (Miles Teller) have taken different journeys in life and that’s perfectly OK with David’s mother.
His mother always knew that Efraim was a bad influence on David, especially after the two got arrested in high school.
Efraim’s career took him to Los Angeles, while David is making a decent living in the awkward profession of massage therapy in Miami.
When the two reconnect at a funeral, the two choose to join forces in business.
Efraim has been hustled out of $70,000 by his uncle and David’s new hustle of selling high-end bed sheets to old folks homes ends up being a terrible investment.
However, selling weapons to the United States military becomes profitable beyond David’s wildest dreams, producing a life of luxury for him and his lady Iz (Ana de Armas).
When Dick Cheney’s cronies are caught benefitting financially from the Iraq War, the government is forced to open up bidding to smaller companies like Efraim and David’s AYE, Inc.
In “War Dogs,” the two begin profiting on the smaller arms deals that most big corporations ignore.
However, AYE soon lands a large gun deal with the military, which forces them to put themselves in danger.
And when the profits begin to balloon, the trust begins to shrink, threatening their growing empire.
“War Dogs” is great because it takes the serious subject of war and profiting off war and makes it entertaining, engaging and educational simultaneously.
Director Todd Phillips does not try to gloss over the reality of the Iraq War.
The Iraq War was controversial.
Many hated it.
Many thought it was necessary to the safety of America.
And many thought it was a great way to make millions of dollars, even if they actually hated the war.
Hate is a powerful feeling.
But the feeling of earning millions of dollars is much more powerful.
And even some of the most anti-war people will not let their stance on the war make them anti-wealth.
Hill steals the show.
That is not to say that Packouz and Bradley Cooper are not top shelf.
It just means that the role of Efraim in “War Dogs” is perfect for Hill.
He is “sick” in his performance in more ways than one.
Efraim is sick mentally, and Hill’s performance is “ill” as old hip-hop heads would say.
His joke about running through all kinds of triangles is hilarious.
The way he confronts street cats in Miami who try to hustle him is gangster.
Even the more nuanced scenes such as the one with him doing lines of cocaine while a picture of Al Pacino in “Scarface” looms over him is fantastic.
Despite Hill’s brilliance, Cooper should have received more screen time.
It was kind of strange seeing him in a very supportive role in “War Dogs” as opposed to being the lead actor like many are accustomed to seeing him.
Even though he has shone brightly in supportive roles like “Wedding Crashers,” his role in “War Dogs” was much more subdued.
But “War Dogs” belongs to its top dog, Hill.
Like Hanks, we will continue seeing his greatness for decades to come.