‘War Dogs’ is a comedy-drama directed by Todd Phillips (‘Joker,’ ‘The Hangover‘) centering on Efraim Diveroli and David Packouz, two arms dealers from Miami who land their biggest contract of transporting a huge cache of weapons to Afghanistan. Diveroli and Packouz form a working partnership and hustle their way to legitimize their name in the arms business. They travel to war-torn places risking their lives to deliver consignments.
Diveroli has his own ways of negotiations, often ignoring the looming threats of liaising with international arms dealers and corrupt officials. Their shady deals put them on a spot where they have to navigate their way in the backstages of war. Jonah Hill and Miles Teller’s electric chemistry makes ‘War Dogs’ a wild ride that also comments on the government’s lackadaisical approach while awarding crucial contracts regarding national security. Let us take you through the nuances of the surreal narrative. SPOILERS AHEAD.
War Dogs Plot Synopsis
David Packouz, a massage therapist, lives in Miami with his girlfriend, Iz. Apart from being a masseur, he ventures into reselling bedsheets in retirement homes but unfortunately fails to gain any profitable outcome. David meets Efraim Diveroli, his old friend who now runs an arms-dealing company, especially selling arms to the US government in the ongoing war in Iraq.
David gets to know that Iz is pregnant, and co-incidentally, Efraim offers him a job at his company. David reluctantly joins Efraim but doesn’t disclose the truth to Iz. Efraim explains to David the workings of the company- he focuses on smaller contracts that larger companies generally overlook despite being worth millions. Ralph Slutzky, a local businessman who owns a dry-cleaning business, funds their operations.
David and Efraim land a contract of delivering Beretta pistols to Iraqi police in Baghdad, but their cargo gets held up in Jordan. The duo travels to Jordan and bribes their way to release the consignment. They drive to Iraq with the weapons crossing through the Triangle of Death. Upon the successful completion of the delivery, they are paid handsomely by the U.S. Army.
As their company grows, they manage to secure a gigantic contract to the tune of $300 million for supplying AK-47 to the Afghan National Army. Facing an acute shortage of the weapons, they meet Henry Girard, a famous arms dealer who provides them contacts in Albania from where they can procure the guns. The duo botches the deal because of Efraim’s surreptitious ways and finds themselves in dire situations. Their homecoming is also spoiled as the law enforcement agencies catch a whiff of their shady deals.
War Dogs Ending: Why Does Henry apologize to David?
David meets Henry, who apologizes to him for the kidnapping and assault in Albania. Henry claims that he had the wrong information and gives David a suitcase of money to drop the subject. The film ends, and it is left unclear whether David takes the money or not. David is flummoxed at Henry’s approach and asks him about the whereabouts of Bashkim, his driver in Albania.
Henry doesn’t provide a clear answer. Nevertheless, this scene establishes David’s moral compass that was under duress due to his filial situation. David has to join Efraim because his life was getting difficult without any steady supply of money. In many instances, David is reluctant to go along with Efraim’s wild choices, often questioning his disposition. Moreover, he doesn’t want to deal with Henry initially because he is on the authorities’ suspect list.
David’s silence on Henry’s involvement shows that David is a good person, and despite being assaulted by Henry, he doesn’t get vengeful. The last scene ensures that David is the protagonist of the film, and it is befitting to show him in good faith. Moreover, the real-life David Packouz had served as a consultant for the film, and it was perhaps a conscious choice by the filmmakers to add a dramatic flair to the denouement.
The Whims of Efraim
The choices made by Efraim are whimsical in nature, which ultimately leads to his downfall. His refusal to pay the money to Enver, the person in charge of repackaging the guns, turns out to be the final nail in the coffin. Enver rats David and Efraim to the FBI, which leads to their indictment for trafficking illegal weapons. Efraim’s lust for money is a striking feature of his character. When David asks him about his disposition towards war, Efraim replies that it is just a business opportunity that provides a money-making path.
Efraim gets to know that Henry, who arranged their Albanian rendezvous, charges a monumental mark-up on the deal. Infuriated, Efraim cuts him off from the deal. Efraim ignores David’s protests and even tears the only copy of their business contract. Efraim is shown to be a hustler who would go to any lengths to procure a handsome amount of money. It will be naïve to term it as greed, as Efraim is surcharged with the thrill of making money. The guns, the adventures, the buzz of it all invites Efraim to take some callous steps that put him on the wrong side of law enforcement.
Why Does David Lie to Iz?
When David fails to gain a footing in his business, he reluctantly joins Efraim, seeing an opportunity to settle his finances in the face of Iz’s pregnancy. David lies to Iz about the nature of his job to keep her in confidence. He doesn’t tell her about his ordeals in Iraq, but eventually, Iz knows about the lies. David’s lies are a way to establish his vulnerability and the extent to which he can go to secure his family’s future. He puts his life in unprecedented danger, which gives a self-less touch to his character. David is the narrator of ‘War Dogs,’ and his character stands out among the expedient men he is surrounded with, much like Henry Hill in ‘Goodfellas.’ Perhaps it is a cinematic choice to establish his moral compass in a film filled with unabashed eccentricities.
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