Film Review: War on Everyone

War On Everyone

John Michael McDonagh’s War on Everyone is an entertaining buddy cop movie with a fizzing script. The cast and setting should ensure the filmmaker reaches a wider audience, and deservedly so.

Bob and Terry are corrupt cops in New Mexico. The pair regularly frame criminal and steal evidence. The pair may have met their match, however, with an adversary who appears much more dangerous than them…

Writer-director John Michael McDonagh brings his brand of black comedy to the United States with War on Everyone. McDonagh’s film has a definite 1970s feel, with the soundtrack and the iconic car. It is almost as if War on Everyone is the quintessential buddy cop movie turned on its head. Bob and Terry are certainly antiheroes, subverting expectations with their actions. In fact, McDonagh satirises American law enforcement with this film. It is certainly timely; the film focuses on officers who exploit the power of their badges and engage in police brutality. The film is played for laughs, albeit in the darkest humour. The message, however, is clear.

War on Everyone moves at a good pace, with action ramping up as the film progresses. The script complements this very well. The film fizzes with amusing lines. The momentum is measured so that there is time of contemplative yet humorous remarks. Humour hits more often than it misses. There are some wonderful lines in the film, although viewers need to be onboard with black humour to really appreciate them.

Michael Peña and Alexander Skarsgård have a good rapport as Bob and Terry. It makes a change to see Peña in a leading role, instead of simply the comedy sidekick. Tessa Thompson is decent as Jackie, whilst Malcolm Barrett delivers a good turn as Reggie.

War on Everyone is functions well as unconventional buddy cop movie and a satire on the state of US law enforcement. It is highly recommended viewing for fans of McDonagh’s previous films Calvary and The Guard.

Previews: Rules Don’t Apply Trailer, Morgan and More!

Lots of trailers, posters and clips this week, including the Rules Don’t Apply trailer, a clip from Morgan, Same Kind of Different trailer and more…

Rules Don’t Apply Trailer

Here is the Rules Don’t Apply Trailer. Warren Beatty writes, directs, and stars in the Golden Era-set film. With Alden Ehrenreich in the cast, the film is instantly reminiscent of this year’s Hail, Cesar!. Ehrenreich stars as the driver to Beatty’s Howard Hughes. The film features a stellar cast, that includes Lily Collins, Alec Baldwin, and Matthew Broderick. Rules Don’t Apply is coming soon to cinemas.

Morgan Clip

This clip from the upcoming Morgan gives a bit of insight into the title character. The film stars Kate Mara as a troubleshooter sent to a remote location to investigate an accident. Also starring Paul Giamatti and Jennifer Jason Leigh, the film is produced by Ridley Scott. Morgan is out in UK cinemas on 2nd September 2016.

Arrival Poster

Arrival PosterThis is one of a series of posters for new ski-fi thriller Arrival. The film is about a mystery spacecraft that arrives on Earth, and the team who are sent to investigate. Denis Villeneuve directs the film, which stars Amy Adams, Forest Whitaker and Jeremy Renner. Arrival lands in UK cinemas on 11th November 2016.

War on Everyone Trailer

The Guard director John Michael McDonagh’s latest film combines dark humour with a buddy cop movie. War on Everyone stars Alexander Skarsgård and Michael Peña as New Mexican cops who set out to blackmail every criminal that crosses their paths. War on Everyone will hit UK screens on 7th October 2016.

Moana Trailer

Disney latest animation Moana is about a South Pacific teenager who sails on a daring mission to save her people. The film features the voice of Dwayne Johnson, and songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Moana is directed by Disney dream-team Ron Clements and John Musker. UK cinemagoers will have to wait until 2nd December 2016 to see if the pair can recreate their earlier magic.

Hell or High Water Trailer

Hell or High Water is a new crime thriller from the writer of Sicario, Taylor Sheridan.  The film stars Chris Pine and Ben Foster as robbers who meet their match in Texas Ranger Jeff Bridges. Hell or High Water hits UK screens on 9th September 2016.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children Poster

Miss Peregrine Poster

This poster is a visual feast. Director Tim Burton always delivers on the imagery front. Based on the book by Ransom Riggs, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children looks like it will be weird and wonderful. Starring Eva Green, Asa Butterfield and Samuel L. Jackson, the film will be released in UK cinemas on 30th September 2016.

Same Kind of Different as Me Trailer

Uncomfortably reminiscent of The Blind Side, Same Kind of Different as Me is based on the book of the same name. The film stars Renée Zellweger and Greg Kinnear as a couple who befriend a homeless man (played by Djimon Hounsou). Some of what is shown seems risible, but the film will probably appeal to fans of the book. Same Kind of Different as Me is set for release in 2017.

Film Review: The Guard

Initially, the premise does not sound overly appealing, given that the ‘fish out of water’ narrative has been done to death. Nevertheless, The Guard quickly disperses any apprehension; it is an extremely well-executed film.

Sergeant Gerry Boyle is an apathetic Irish police officer who tends not to do things by the book. He is annoyed to be joined by a new officer from Dublin, Aidan McBride. The duo discover a murder, which has links to a drug-smuggling operation. Boyle is forced to team up with FBI agent Wendell Everett in order to investigate the crime…

The Guard boasts a fantastic script by John Michael McDonagh, who also directs the film. Characters are well written and the dialogue is peppered with wit. The film shows an admirable level of self-awareness. There are frequent references to the bad guys being aware that they are villains, or how the film fits into the crime film mould, for example.

The film is frequently humorous, some of which is black. In certain places, some may find the jokes a little close to the bone, but most will relish the comedic aspects of The Guard. These work well against the rather melancholy tone of both the incidents and the backdrop.

While the story may seem like another tale of an unlikely duo, in reality it offers much more than this. The beauty of the writing is in its deception. The film initially appears quite straightforward, but as it develops it is clear that there is more to it. The same can be said of protagonist Boyle. His character is succinctly introduced by the opening sequence. However, Boyle develops throughout the film, and appears truly three-dimensional. Given his authenticity, it is difficult to judge what action he will take later in the film.

Performances in the film are great. Nonetheless, it is Brendan Gleeson who steals the show as Boyle. Gleeson embodies the character, giving a tremendously strong performance. Elsewhere, Mark Strong is decent as the knowingly caricatured Clive, while Don Cheadle brings presence as Wendell. Fionnula Fanagan is also great as Boyle’s ailing mother Eileen.

There is a grainy, naturalistic look to the film, which is highlighted by the Galloway setting. The cinematography really emphasises the ordinariness of the locale, contrasting it with frequent mentions of big cities such as London and Dublin.

The Guard is a great watch, with exemplary writing and performances. It is an excellent showcase of McDonagh’s talents.