War on Everyone

War on Everyone is a 2016 British black comedy buddy cop film written and directed by John Michael McDonagh. The film stars Alexander Skarsgård, Michael Peña, and Theo James. Set and filmed in Albuquerque, New Mexico, it was screened in the Panorama section of the 66th Berlin International Film Festival.[4] The film was released in the United Kingdom and Ireland on 7 October 2016 through Icon Film Distribution.

War on Everyone
War on Everyone.png
British poster
Directed byJohn Michael McDonagh
Produced by
  • Chris Clark
  • Flora Fernandez-Marengo
  • Phil Hunt
  • Compton Ross
Written byJohn Michael McDonagh
Music byLorne Balfe
CinematographyBobby Bukowski
Edited byChris Gill
Distributed byIcon Film Distribution
Release date
  • 12 February 2016 (2016-02-12) (Berlin)
  • 7 October 2016 (2016-10-07) (United Kingdom)
Running time
97 minutes[1]
CountryUnited Kingdom[2]
Box office$698,036[3]


Terry Monroe and Bob Bolaño, two corrupt cops, return to the Albuquerque police force after being suspended for assaulting a racist coworker. Bolaño and Monroe regularly rob and extort criminals, accept bribes, and take drugs. While surveilling small time thieves, the two come to believe Jimmy Harris, a local criminal, is planning a heist. They contact one of Harris' former associates, Reggie, and coerce him into revealing information by threatening to falsely arrest him. Reggie and his friend, Irishman Pádraic Power, identify Clifford Reynard, a getaway driver, and tell them Harris' girlfriend, Jackie Hollis, used to dance at a strip club owned by Russell Birdwell. Birdwell, though suspicious, reveals Hollis' address. After bursting into Harris' house and knocking him out, they extort several expensive possessions.

Meanwhile, Birdwell tells his boss, James Mangan, a knighted British businessman who is in charge of the heist, the cops have been asking about Hollis. Mangan tells Birdwell to intimidate both Hollis and the cops. Monroe returns to Hollis and gives her a replacement television. After flirting with each other, they have sex and begin seeing each other. While staking out Reynard's house to extort him, too, they hear a scream. In the house, they find that Reynard's wife has murdered him, though she is too hysterical to explain why. Irritated, the cops attempt to quiet her while they consider their next step. Reynard's teenage son flees, but they are unable to catch him. After a nightmare, Monroe becomes concerned and searches the city for the missing boy. As he does this, Birdwell scares Bolaño's wife by smashing the window of her shop as she talks to Hollis.

With Reynard dead, Reggie takes his place in the heist, though he misleads Bolaño and Monroe into believing it will be taking place elsewhere. When the cops finally catch on to him, they discover Harris and his cohorts dead. Not knowing Mangan's involvement, they assume Reggie is responsible. Before going after Reggie, they learn about Birdwell's harassment and beat him so badly that he loses an eye. Knowing they have numerous enemies and believing themselves untouchable anyway, they do not bother asking who sent him. Reggie's friend Power, when offered a bribe, tells them Reggie fled to Iceland. Though they know nothing more than that, they leave for Iceland, reasoning that an African American man will stick out. To Monroe's amazement, the plan works, and they spontaneously find him in a crowd. Under pressure, Reggie reveals Mangan's involvement and agrees to split his take from the heist with them.

Back in Albuquerque, Lieutenant Stanton says Birdwell has filed charges against them. Monroe and Bolaño assure him that their investigation is nearing completion and will involve Birdwell. As Monroe and Bolaño search for Mangan, they chance upon Reynard's child, who is living homeless on the streets. Monroe insists on becoming the boy's foster parent over the protests of Bolaño, who, as a parent, believes Monroe unprepared for the responsibility. Hollis, who has temporarily moved in with Monroe after Birdwell's attack, also voices her skepticism, but the three eventually come to care for each other. Although Mangan's thugs kidnap and beat Monroe, he laughs off their attempt to intimidate him, saying he has already been raped. Not wanting to kill a cop, they release him. However, after Monroe and Bolaño harass Mangan during a business meeting, Lieutenant Stanton finally fires them.

Mangan beheads Power and contacts the cops, hoping to entrap them with an offer of sharing the money. Reynard's son, however, tells Monroe that his mother killed Reynard because she found out he was part of a child pornography ring run by Mangan. Enraged, Monroe enlists Bolaño to help kill Mangan, having lost interest in the money. In the resulting shootout, Bolaño is apparently killed but reveals he was wearing a bulletproof vest. The two shoot Birdwell as he begs for his life. Then they kill Mangan as he attempts to bribe them. Monroe, Hollis, Reynard's son, Bolaño and his family, Reggie and Reggie's transgender girlfriend all party together on the beach in Iceland afterward.



The film is produced by Chris Clark and Flora Fernandez-Marengo, and co-produced by Elizabeth Eves for Reprisal Films. Phil Hunt and Compton Ross also produce for Head Gear Films, with the support of the BFI Film Fund.


The film was scheduled to be released in Ireland and the United Kingdom on 30 September 2016, before being pushed back to 7 October to avoid competition with Deepwater Horizon and Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, and was then set to compete against the UK release of Blood Father. It had a limited release in the United States on 3 February 2017.

Critical responseEdit

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 57% based on 72 reviews and an average rating of 5.4/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "War on Everyone boasts just enough dark humor and infectious energy to make this somewhat middling entry from writer-director John Michael McDonagh an entertaining diversion."[6] On Metacritic the film has a score of 50 out of 100, based on 21 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[7]

Demetrios Matheou from Indiewire wrote, "I’m not sure if any bad cops in the whole genre of bad cop comedy have paid so little lip service to actual policing as the pair in John Michael McDonagh’s "War on Everyone." And I’m not sure that the genre has produced such an irresistibly funny film."[8] Peter Debruge, Variety chief international film critic said, "McDonagh writes his clever, coal-black heart out, delivering another firecracker script, whose explosively entertaining execution boasts considerably more commercial potential than his previous two indies, Calvary and The Guard."[9]

Vanity Fair wrote: "The opening sequences of War on Everyone are so furiously fast and funny it's nearly unimaginable that McDonagh can sustain the pace. And yet he does. When the script eases up on the rapid-fire quips, segueing into hilarious music cues (all that Campbell!) and slapstick violence, it brings its best game. Because these flawed but funny characters have dimension, depth, deep desires and, damn it, cry out for a franchise.’"[10]


  1. ^ "WAR ON EVERYONE (15)". British Board of Film Classification. 24 June 2016. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  2. ^ "War on Everyone (2016)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  3. ^ "War on Everyone (2016)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 21 August 2017.
  4. ^ "Berlinale 2016: Panorama Celebrates Teddy Award's 30th Anniversary and Announces First Titles in Programme" (Press release). Berlin International Film Festival. 17 December 2015. Archived from the original on 21 December 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h de Semlyen, Phil (20 April 2015). "First Look At John Michael McDonagh's War On Everyone". Empire. Retrieved 26 April 2015.
  6. ^ "War on Everyone (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  7. ^ "War on Everyone Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  8. ^ Matheou, Demetrios (12 February 2016). "Berlin Review: Could 'War on Everyone' Be the Best Bad Cop Comedy Ever?". Thompson on Hollywood. Indiewire.
  9. ^ Debruge, Peter (12 February 2016). "Berlin Film Review: 'War on Everyone'". Variety.
  10. ^ "Berlin Film Review: 'War on Everyone'". Vanity Fair. 13 February 2016.

External linksEdit