Hidden beneath the discordant tones, variety show performances and ill-conceived, callow humour, there may well be the germ of a a decent satire here. But somewhere along the way, things took a turn for the worse, and we're left with a mess of high-minded character types acting like fools.
A total failure of a movie, but perhaps that is the point. The Brechtian climax suggests that this might have been a put on all along. There is only one joke in the film, any attempt at plot or emotion feels sickly and forced, but there are touches, like Caleb Landry Jones' dominatingly off performance, the occasional great shot or ponderance that suggests maybe McDonagh was trying at something here.
W.O.E. follows a unique set of philosophical rhetoric & libertarian ideals proving that McDonagh is one of the industries smarter directors. W.O.E is firstly the outward heist that leads to a morality tale, secondly the battle within to suppress the pain of unknown horrors through superficiality & lastly the letting go, the last stand, where we eventually take a chance on life or death. Glen Campbell holds the clues.
The racism and ironic racism (mainly against Asians, which Hollywood still deems wholly acceptable) and faux satire of bad policing might be more bearable if this was actually funny. It's not. No one looks like they care about being in this. The writing misses its targets every time. Just appallingly dire and complacent. Watch Kiss Kiss Bang Bang or the Nice Guys instead.
A movie with the outspoken intention of being offensive, and it is at its best when playing with racial prejudices although they're played quite safe through commentary. Also “the bad good guys” are in the end just good, because the bad guys have been demonised to the max. So it’s the usual story of good guys vs. bad guys with justified violence and funny oneliners. The literary references are a nice plus.