Subscribe To SXSW Comedy War On Everyone Is Pitch Black, Hysterical And An Absolute Must-See Updates
I've already subscribed
Writer/director John Michael McDonagh’s War On Everyone wastes zero time telling you exactly what kind of movie it is. The opening scene features Terry (Alexander Skarsgard) and Bob (Michael Pena), two insanely corrupt New Mexico police officers, chasing down a mime in their car. As they are about to slam right into him, Bob ponders aloud from the passenger seat, "If you hit a mime, does he make a sound?" With this moment, the movie sets a particular bar for the darkness of its comedy, and if you can’t laugh and appreciate it, then it’s probably not for you. If this kind of pitch black humor has a way of tickling your funny bone, however, then you should prepare to see one of the most hysterical films of your life.
A return to the world of horrible law enforcement for John Michael McDonagh, who made his directorial debut with The Guard in 2011, War On Everyone - which premiered last night at the SXSW Film Festival – doubles the number of immoral cops and goes ten times as dark with its material. The story follows Terry and Bob as they work to keep the criminals in their neighborhood in line by fucking with them every single way that they can – be it planting evidence, taking bribes, stealing stuff, or just general acts of violence. It’s through these general acts of mayhem and corruption that they wind up on the tail of a major player in town (Theo James)– and while their confidence is never shaken, for the first time ever they possibly find themselves in over their heads.
Just so we’re 100% clear on what we’re talking about when discussing "dark comedy," War On Everyone is a movie that has a variety of sequences where you will witness acts such as cops doing coke off of a changing table; the haranguing of an hysterical woman at a murder scene about the art up on the wall; and Bob being told by his superior (Paul Reiser) not to be so sensitive to racism because he’s a cop and therefore "surrounded by racist pigs." As the film progresses, it only gets more and more risky with its subject matter, but does so in such outrageous and mind-bending ways that you’re too busy laughing to think about how incredibly non-politically correct it all is (though, as the title suggests, no cultural group is safe from targeting, and it’s actually equal-opportunity in that very special way).
The movie is jammed with amazing performances – featuring a strong supporting cast including the aforementioned Paul Reiser, Theo James, Tessa Thompson, Michael Barrett, Caleb Landry Jones, and Stephanie Sigman – but War On Everything is unquestionably the Michael Pena and Alexander Skarsgard show. While Pena is an incredibly talented dramatic actor, he tends to really bring his best stuff to comedy and it shows here, as every sly remark from his lips is worthy of howling laughter. And while Skarsgard is far better known for his work in drama, he demonstrates impeccable timing with McDonagh’s script, and also happens to put on a seriously hardcore and weird turn as the significantly more fucked up member of the partner duo.
War On Everyone doesn’t yet have domestic distribution or a release date, but hopefully that will change very soon – both because it deserves to be seen, and because I selfishly want to have the opportunity to watch it over and over again. John Michael McDonagh has once again shown that he has a brilliant dark comedic mind, and provided you have the proper disposition, it will go down as one of your favorite movies of the year (I know it will for me).