A buddy cop movie without the buddy
War On Everyone makes it’s feelings known from the unfamiliar opening, where we see two men run over a mime (with only one asking the philosophical proposition of “If you run over a mime does he make a sound?”) and take the bag of money he is carrying, only to find out that they are in fact the police officers here to save the day. It’s clear from this opening that these guys are not here to save anyone’s day.
John Michael McDonagh Is a man without fear, his specialty is films that make us as an audience cringe. In both of his pervious movies (The Guard and Calvary) he didn’t care what you thought of what you were seeing, he just cared that you were looking, in War On Everyone he has evolved to one step further, using the bigger names to his advantage and make a statement that will last much longer than the closing credits.
War On Everyone is comparable to Pulp Fiction in tone, it’s violence always feels incidental to where our characters are going, With Michael Pena constantly debating the deeper ponderable of the universe, and Alexander Skarsgard the perfect foil for him, as he slowly gets more and more drunk, spiralling deeper into his own depressing oblivion as the film progresses. These two never leave with the intent for violence but they never let it hold them back. Here are two true anti-heroes, while people have long stopped laughing at Deadpool’s pop gags they are going to stand up and applaud both of these characters for a long time to come.
I’m not sure what makes War On Everyone so powerful, if it’s the directing or the tone or the story or the script or the acting, but I do know that all of it added together makes a tonic that is hard to let go. The film is mostly a 2 hander, with each of the characters coming in pairs, we are given our main protagonist in Bob and Terry, on the opposite side we have two villain, the informants are also a pair, even Bob has two kids. There is something about this movie and the idea of sharing the responsibility of any given act.
While the picture is “carried” by Alexander Skarsgard and Michael Pena, I have a special respect for Theo James who still excels at being allowed to be the ultimate bad boy, he comes across here as an evil James Bond complete with camp Sean Connery voice. While all of the cast put on strong and committed performances it is Caleb Landry Jones who gives us more, he is famous for being Banshee in X-Men First Class whoever here he plays a sort of homosexual evil strip club owner, it’s like if David O’Hare had been Quicksilver first and then been in American Horror Story, it’s that revolutionary.
War On Everyone is a film as hostile as it is impactful. It constantly aims to go deeper into our minds, it buries itself deep within us, knowing that it has masked itself with many of the standard tropes we have seen so many times before, and then finally in the end, the film swings it’s final blow and leaves everyone out for the count.
War On Everyone is a strong darkly light comedy that uses it’s satirical edges to cut far deeper than most of the other offerings in cinema today.