War On Everyone

Directed by: John Michael McDonagh

Starring: Alexander Skarsgard, Michael Pena, Tessa Thompson, Theo James, Stephanie Sigman, Caleb Landry Jones, Malcolm Barret, David Wilmot

Terry Monroe and Bob Bolano are two robbery-homicide detectives who alongside "fucking up some badguys" like nothing more than partaking the drugs and money they confiscate in the line of duty. When they stumble across a new robbery crew about to undertake a $1million dollar heist, they make it their business to find out who's involved and how to take the money for themselves - but are they getting in over their heads? They soon find out that lord James Langan, head of a secretive syndicate, doesn't play by the usual rules…

War on Everyone is a very safe bet for a spot in my end of year top 10 list. After the sardonic The Guard and Calvary, director John Michael McDonagh has gone right off the rails with this film and its glorious to watch.

This is what would happen if Starsky and Hutch had dived head first into a bag full of cocaine and robbed everyone they arrested. Monroe and Bolano are still focused on catching badguys but do so either drunk or stoned or as high as a kite. For example, a scene where they go to rough up an informant ends with them doing lines of coke with him in the toilets instead.

While the pair are quite different, they are very much on the same page all the way through the film. Pena is the family man, with a loving wife and two ugly kids (his words, not mine), while Terry is a loner on the path to drinking himself to an early grave. Their homes couldn't be any different. Bob's is lived-in, chaotic, which Terry's is minimally furnished, white, cold and spaceous.

This is a film which constantly surprises on many levels. The script gives room for the two leading female characters to meet and chat, and both come off as very strong characters in their own right (Bob's wife Delores is a lot smarter than he is). The bad-guys react in random ways to what is going on and turn out to be a lot more formidable than you'd expect. 

The film techniques on show are also exemplary. There are many different techniques on show, such as Terry's stop motion session at a gay nightclub, getting hammered at the bar, or the long unedited take of Lord Langan heading from his bedroom, through his mansion to take care of a certain problem. There's some great photography as well, especially in the scenes around Terry's house, which wouldn't be out of place in a Michael Mann film.


If you can get down with the anti-heroic nature of the protagonists and accept that they aren't going to change their habits one little bit then you should definitely go and see this film. It's hilarious, brilliantly made and acted.

9 out of 10 (MikeOutWest)