War Dogs is a movie about greed, corruption and stupidity which always go hand in hand. The easier the money seems to be the greater the possibility for crime, screwing over other people, corruption, and stupid mistakes. The success and all that money go to your head and many people actually become stupider the easier it seems to make money. This certainly was true during the glory days of the internet bubble in 1999 and the first 3 months of 2000. All the things that seemed to work so perfectly for so long very quickly stop working and then you start to lose money, very quickly. The saying goes, “If it seems to good to be true, then it probably is”. This is true of the stock market bubble in 1999 and it was definitely true of the story behind the film War Dogs.
Jonah Hill and Miles Teller star in this very good movie about the true story of two young men who get involved in finding and selling weapons to the United States Government based on a simple website where a list of many thousands of Government Weaponry supplies are available for any company to bid on. The Government website open bidding process was a new law made available by the Bush Administration in 2004 to potentially lower the cost of the purchase of Government weapons and thereby giving more companies a chance to make money to stimulate the economy.
The mastermind of using the Government website to bid and provide weapons to the US Military was the idea of Efraim Diverolo, played by Jonah Hill and later David Packouz, played by Miles Teller. They form a company called AEY – nothing more than a series of 3 letters that according to Efraim stand for absolutely nothing. Very soon the very simple and brilliant idea of “searching the website for crumbs that nobody else wanted” got out of control and before long the money and the risks became greater than either Efraim or David ever thought they would; including driving into Baghdad from the country of Jordan to illegally run guns into IRAQ while the IRAQ war was currently being fought. Due to the many Government regulations and restrictions, each new deal that Efraim and David tried became more difficult, causing them to take bigger risks that not only risked their precarious business but even their lives. The irony here is that if they both stuck with the original business plan of only getting involved with the small contracts that no other big vendors wanted then none of the criminal activity and risks would have occurred, giving them all the money they would ever need. As it often does, greed and easy money makes you want more and makes you stupid as soon as you think you are smarter than everyone else and you learn the obvious lessons the hard way. I found the very short prison terms of Efraim, 4 years and David, 6 months house arrest, extremely low amounts of time considering their crimes. Somewhere in this film, I thought their small prison terms should have been explained. At the end of the movie, we also find out that AEY could sell arms to the US Government again in 2022.
There is also a very good back story concerning David Packouz and his attractive wife played by Ana De Armas and David’s struggles to make a living by selling bed sheets to retirement homes and as a massage therapist. What makes their lives even more complicated is David’s lying to his wife about the gun running and they have a baby. Bradly Cooper also has a small role in this movie, playing another gun runner who gets involved in the biggest and most dangerous gun deal in the film.
This movie was very well done and I highly recommend it.