Director: John Michael McDonagh
Starring: Alexander Skarsgård, Michael Peña , Tessa Thompson
Synopsis: Two corrupt cops set out to blackmail and frame every criminal unfortunate enough to cross their path. Events, however, are complicated by the arrival of someone who appears to be even more dangerous than they are.
Rating: 15 Duration:97 minutes Release date: 30 January (UK)
If you like your buddy-cop dramas dark then look no further than War on Everyone. This very black comedy delves deep to get its laughs and has absolutely no problem it if offends you along the way. War on Everyone follows two corrupt police officers in New Mexico who double cross and blackmail any criminal they come across. However, they soon meet their match when an English Lord (bear with it) threatens to be even more cruel and sinister than they are.
Alexander Skarsgård and Michael Peña are Detectives Terry Monroe and Bob Bolano. Bob is a family man who sarcastically abuses his kids, while Terry is a man who drinks beer for breakfast. At first these two may seem like an odd fit, but they share a chemistry that the films coasts along on. Peña’s usual quick-witted charm is brought wonderfully to life by director and writer John Michael McDonagh who brings a twisted energy to the film. Terry meanwhile takes a cynical lookout on life while taking maybe too much joy in gladly punching any criminal he comes across. Opposites really do attract here and the two are well partnered; not necessarily in the same way as the dim-witted but loveable heroes from the Jump Street films but closer maybe to Riggs and Murtaugh in how they seem like family and not just friends.
If their relationship is the glue that keeps the film together, then the villains; Theo James and Caleb Landry Jones, want to bring everything crumbling down around them. Jones is over the top and his performance wreaks of menace, not in a physical sense but he brings out something that tells you his character is a very nasty person. James meanwhile almost falls into the typical English bad guy role; all charm and danger, but he lacks the meaty lines or characterisation given to Skarsgård and Peña.
On his fourth feature now, director John Michael McDonagh presents a ruggedness to the film and allows his characters the time to breathe in a film that is a little over and hour and a half long. Tessa Thompson succeeds as Skarsgård’s love interest, the two making an interesting sub-plot to the pure anarchy going on around them. McDonagh has fused War on Everyone with colourful humour and an easy charm, while being able to throw in a dance routine to Glen Campbell’s “Rhinestone cowboy” which, oddly, doesn’t seem out-of-place.
War on Everyone is an immensely fun ride at times, but doesn’t always maintain the pace set out early on and yet doesn’t struggle to fill its time with drugs, beatings, an impromptu trip to Iceland and some very well-timed humour. It would take a lot to dislike this film.
- Premiere Crawl
- Cast interviews
- What is War on Everyone?
- Audio commentary with John Michael McDonagh