We’ve torn up this turf with McDonagh before. His 2011 black comedy The Guard saw Brendan Gleeson take the stage as a similarly corrupt cop, a film that then mushroomed out to examine Northern Ireland’s racial issues through the eyes of one of its local Guarda. McDonagh's latest film seems to have lost much of the latter's irony and instead feels a little too full of itself: a navel-gazing gangster romp posing as a quick-witted satire. It's certainly not on a par with McDonagh's brother Martin's In Bruges, forerunner for the pair's distinct style of black comedy – and tonally far surer of itself.
Pegged as a modern Starsky and Hutch, the
film follows the pair as they attempt to get to the bottom of a planned heist,
using informants to source the real mastermind behind the operation: a
young, hedonistic British lord and his squirming, effeminate henchman. Both are painted as evil incarnate, but this seems uncomfortably tied into quips about their sexuality, and 'bisexual' seems to segue a little too easily into 'paedophile', justifying any degree of violence needed to take them down.
What is frustrating about War on Everyone is the film that it thinks it is. It would be more forgivable if McDonagh's latest recognised itself as a frothy crime comedy. Instead the script is peppered with faux intellectual quips and philosophical debates. Sexist comments are bolstered by retorts from two-dimensional female characters, who quote from Simone de Beauvoir or roll their eyes at the ‘naughty’ boys as they violently beat up, embezzle, and extort their victims. Racist comments are met with a similar sloppy finger-wagging from the film's black and Hispanic characters.
Instead of condemning this mawkish duo who abuse their authority and use intimidation and violence to live their hedonistic lifestyles, we are invited to laugh along with them as they bully their victims.
War on Everyone is clearly aware of the racism and hedonism of its lead characters, but by hinging this around a flawed friendship between two ‘buddy’ cops, somehow the film just reinforces all the bigotry it purports to condemn. War on Everyone’s politics are, at best, misjudged.
|What||War on Everyone film review|
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
07 Oct 16 – 07 Dec 16, Times vary
|Price||£ determined by cinema|
|Website||Click here to go to the film's IMDB page|