“War Dogs” Had So Much Potential…

By: Kendra Thornton

I love Miles Teller and Jonah Hill, but I did not love War Dogs. Personally, I don’t think that the story had enough depth for me to get emotionally involved or attached to any of the characters in the film. I actually ended up getting most attached to Efraim Diveroli (Jonah Hill), the character viewers were supposed to hate. War Dogs is about a couple of Miami arms dealers who make a fortune providing guns and bullets to the US military during the height of the Bush administration’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is based on a Rolling Stone article and book by Guy Lawson.

I think where the film went wrong is that they chose to have the story narrated by David Packouz (Miles Teller) instead of Efraim Diveroli. David is a nice, normal guy who is simply trying to make ends meet, and just so happens to get caught up in this life of being an overnight millionaire. I think it would have been much more interesting to see the story through Efraim’s perspective he is a much more complex character. Efraim is the source of all of the conflict, but since the film follows David, we don’t have a problem with being on David’s side and not thinking once about Efraim.

This film reminds me so much of Wolf of Wall Street, but I think that War Dogs falls short in ways that Wolf of Wall Street pulls of so brilliantly. In Wolf of Wall Street, we follow these characters who are clearly in the wrong, yet as viewers we are conflicted by how we feel about them because at the same time they are so fun and complex. We can still identify with them somehow. Because War Dogs follows David, viewers don’t experience this internal conflict. We can simply create two boxes with one “good guys” and the other “bad guys” and have no problem sorting them out. It honestly just felt like such a waste because Efraim really is such a great character. He is so absurd but I bought every second of it. I especially loved his crazy laugh during uncomfortable/tense moments. Check out this scene from the film and you’ll see what I mean! Don’t worry it’s not a spoiler!

Don’t get me wrong, this film was still fun to watch, I just don’t think it met its potential.

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8 Responses to “War Dogs” Had So Much Potential…

  1. mediaphiles says:

    I totally agree. I saw a lot of potential in every scene of this movie. It was still overall enjoyable, but Miles Teller’s performance was lackluster. Jonah Hill wowed but completely overshadowed the rest of the picture. I think screenwriter’s should look at this as a great example for what to do better in the future.

    – Russell Lawrence

  2. mediaphiles says:

    I agree completely. This movie had a great cast and an interesting plot, so it was overall enjoyable enough. I felt that the movie didn’t fully develop the characters, and Miles Teller’s character was a little flat. The mediocre “wild behavior” scenes detracted from the film, unlike in Wolf of Wall Street.-Caitlin Herlihy

  3. mediaphiles says:

    This is so true. I went into this film with high hopes and figured that with a great cast and decent storyline that it would be an enjoyably viewing. It was not bad but did not live up to what it could have in any way. After watching, there were so many missed opportunities that could have made for a solid film.

    -Maddie Turner

  4. mediaphiles says:

    Guess I need to avoid this movie then! I agree that both Miles Teller and Jonah Hill are amazing actors. I enjoyed their performance in many other movies. But this one doesn’t sound attractive to me. Thank you for your review!
    -Kevin Yu

  5. mediaphiles says:

    I agree, as soon as I saw the trailer for this film I was dying to see it, but was a little disappointed. The film is definitely entertaining, but I believe it had the potential to be much better than it was. I think your point about having Efraim narrate it could have helped the film a lot.

    -Walker Rise

  6. mediaphiles says:

    I also agree, film had a lot more potential, but overall I did enjoy the film. I think it would very interesting to see the story through Efraim’s perspective being he is a much more complex character.

    – John Armstrong

  7. mediaphiles says:

    Kendra, thank you very much for your comments! I will absolutely still see the film, but I have to say that I am slightly sad now, because I was very excited to see this, as I had not when it was in theatres. I will be very interested to revisit your article, once I had viewed it!

    -Luke Dellorso

  8. mediaphiles says:

    As everyone has said above, I totally agree. I found the plot and characters to be unrealistic to the point where I turned off the film within the first 45 minutes. Such great actors, but such a bad story line…
    -Katherine Naylor

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