The Film:  Lord Of War

(2005)

The Principles: 
Andrew Niccol (Writer/Director), Nicolas Cage, Jared Leto, Ethan Hawk, Bridgette Moynahan, with a little Ian Holm action

The
Premise:
 
A
droopy Nic Cage plays Yuri Orlov, a highly successful arms dealer who
reaps enormous profits from the sale and trade of weapons in deals with
everyone from the US government to the most genocidal of African
warlords. It’s a sweeping epic that details Yuri’s entrance into the
business (an attempt to escape the doldrums of the Bronx) all the way
through the collapse of his personal life. Along the way we learn
various trade secrets, clever tactics, and moral justifications Orlov
uses to keep himself in operation in the face of wars and reprehensible
conflicts for which he provides the operational means.



Is It
Good:
 
Yes. Is it great? Not quite. The film paints in very broad strokes with
consistently obvious symbolism and never manages to go beyond the
typical rise and fall story of a man with a questionable method of
making a living. The kind of story that we’ve seen many times before
with gangsters and drug dealers, rock and porn stars.

What does set Lord of War
apart is the unusual backdrop of gun running, which allows a fairly
typical story to take place across every war-zone in the world, and in
the wealthiest circles of the upper crust. What is most impressive is
the scale of this film (which was financed entirely with foreign
investors). It is truly a globe-trotting picture and by the end we feel
the thousands and thousands of miles that Yuri has traveled.



Nic
Cage isn’t operating on any level we haven’t seen before, but his
hang-dog features and tired, rumbling voice-over are perfectly suited
for a man who sees nothing good in the world, and has made the decision
to feed off the underbelly of evil. Orlov is a man who chooses to live
with atrocities he helps create, because he sees no other path for
himself.

Cleverly,
the film enables him by never allowing him to be put in a black or
white situation –yeah, he may know the guns he’s about to sell will
immediately enable a massacre, but perhaps this
particular situation has his life at stake if he doesn’t make the
transaction, or some other caveat. As the film progresses and it become
increasingly clear that nothing redeeming is going to come out in
Yuri’s favor, the film piles on those shades of gray. Ultimately
though, Yuri is a miserable fuck, and if he isn’t actually evil, he’ll
be spending his time in hell anyway.



Is It
Worth
A Look:
 
Absolutely.
The actors around Cage aren’t given a ton to do, but Ian Holm and Ethan
Hawk both lend grace to their roles. Holm is an older arms dealer who
is finding himself less able to use clear politics as justification for
his trade. He brings an older reflection of the same dedication and
misery that Yuri feels. Ethan Hawk’s character also mirrors Yuri, but
inversely as an Interpol agent who sees nothing but evil but will do
whatever small good he can in the face of it. These performances, the
beautiful photography, and a consistently intriguing guide through this
dark industry are more than enough to make this a worthwhile watch



Random
Anecdotes:
 
Objective criticism aside, I enjoy this movie more than it deserves. I
love films that showcase the less obvious psychopaths, as well as ones
that bring you into a new world systematically, with the details of
business and logistics explored in detail. Pair those things with a
character that’s always a step ahead, and you’ve got my kind of movie.

Cinematc
Soulmates:
  Charlie Wilson’s War, Goodfellas, Syriana, The Constant Gardener



Buy it on DVD or on Blu-Ray (cheaper than the DVD) from CHUD!

“Without
operations like mine it would be impossible for certain MESSAGE BOARDS
to conduct a respectable war. I was able to navigate around those
inconvenient little arms embargoes.”


The Tally So Far

 Positive  Negative
 Pontypool Deadgirl
 State of Play The Children
 Orphan  It’s Alive
 Grace  Friday the 13th, Part 3
 Inside  Hounddog
 3000 Miles to Graceland Columbus

Day

The Last Supper  Angel

Eyes

 Things To Do In Denver
When

You’re Dead

Highlander:

The Source

 World’s Greatest Dad   The Killing Hour (aka The
Clairvoyant)

 Lady Beware  
The Neverending
Story

 Pitch Black  
 For All Mankind  
 Splinter  
 Blessed

by Fire

 
 Outland  
The Kindred  
 

Top

Secret

 
 

Beer Wars

 
  The Brood  
The

Incredible Hulk 

 
Undertaking

Betty

 
 Cache  
 
Taxi
Blues

 
 
Across the Universe