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War on Everyone: Vulgar, Smart, Random and More Vulgar

February 28, 2017



War on Everyone is a mean little thing that creates a world full of terrible people, horrible deaths and vulgar dialogue. Initially, it keeps you at a distance with its adherence to profanity but as it moves along you begin to the sync with the nastiness and it becomes a lot of fun. Director/writer John Michael McDonagh (The Guard, Calvary) is one of my favorite directors I love how his comedies are pitch black but feature heart amidst the nihilism. The Guard, Calvary and War on Everyone are 100% unsafe and McDonagh has proven himself to be a writer who hunts out controversy and makes it palatable.  I don’t think that War on Everyone comes anywhere near McDonagh’s first two films but it proves he is willing to step out of his wheelhouse and find coherence in chaos. I love what David Fear of Rolling Stone had to say about the movie and its comparison to 1990’s Tarantino:

This is not just a superior knock-off but a literate refinement of a formula, one that the director can tweak enough to organically include sex, drugs and namedropping André Breton, Yukio Mishima, Simone de Beauvoir and Pythagoras.



War on Everyone focuses on two New Mexico cops Bob Bolano (Michael Pena) and Terry Monroe (Alexander Skarsgard) who spend their days hurting people, doing drugs and hitting mimes with their 1970’s muscle car. They eventually find themselves on the losing end of a million dollar heist and proceed to get their money back. The problem is they are in over their heads and things get more dangerous and ludicrous as they make their way up the criminal food chain. The journey into the criminal underground eventually pits them against  dangerous British Lord/pornography king James Mangan (Theo James) and his squirrelly bodyguard Birdwell (Caleb Landry Jones). From there, things get weird, violent and overly reliant on Glen Campbell music.

War on Everyone is a unique movie that features an oddball rhythm and many tonal shifts. You could break it down in several sentences but that synopsis wouldn’t do it justice. I’ll admit I was nervous during the first 15 minutes but I began to relax and embrace the insanity of a film that sends it heroes to Iceland for one hilarious sight gag. I appreciated how everyone involved dived headlong into the insanity and trusted McDonagh to not make them look terrible. Michael Pena works wonder with McDonagh’s rapid fire dialogue and Skarsgard manages to blend melancholy with rage and showcase skills you didn’t know he had.

If you are looking for a vulgar and chaotic experience I totally recommend War on Everyone.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 28, 2017 9:43 am

    It feels like it’s funnier than it actually is. Still, there is some fun to be had. Nice review.


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