Alexander Skarsgård (The Legend of Tarzan) and Michael Peña (Ant-Man) are two of New Mexico’s worst cops, yet they’re the kings of their castle in War on Everyone. Their delusion intimidates pedestrians and perps, and their shallowness makes their supervisor Lt. Gerry Stanton (Paul Reiser) confused and ultimately indifferent. However, their false royalty is disrupted when they’re overshadowed by a more diabolical threat, Lord James Mangan (Theo James of The Benefactor and the Divergent series).
Writer/director John Michael McDonagh (The Guard) is unapologetic with heated confrontations and insensitive humour. The justification behind the uglier scenes has the type of firm conviction that can only be provided by a game cast and a fearless director. While Skarsgård and Peña succeed with some initial jokes, the aggressive arrogance occupies too much of the exposition. Then again, I belong in the sparse camp of movie goers that believe McDonagh’s aberrant politically incorrect misbehaviour is best in small doses.
War on Everyone spins the crime sub-genre on its ear and simultaneously uses tired clichés while spoofing them – very impressive. That said, the viewer’s level of enthusiasm and enjoyment truly boils down to their tolerance towards touch-and-go black humour and unflinching recklessness.
For me, War on Everyone was occasionally funny, but an obnoxious and overwhelming experience nonetheless. As for the rest of you: buckle up, hold your breath, bite your lip, and hold on tight. You’ll know very quickly if War on Everyone is for you.
War on Everyone screens at Toronto After Dark on:
Friday, October 14 at 7:00 p.m. @ Scotiabank Theatre
For more information on the festival, visit the official TAD webpage here.
Buy tickets here.
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