- Actors: Nicolas Cage, Jared Leto, Davis Shumbris, Jeremy Crutchley, Shake Tukhmanyan
- Format: PAL
- Language: English
- Subtitles: English
- Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
- Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Number of discs: 1
- Classification: 18
- Studio: Momentum Pictures
- DVD Release Date: 3 April 2006
- Run Time: 122 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (130 customer reviews)
- ASIN: B000FQIQFU
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 10,858 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
Lord of War [DVD]
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Tense thriller about the arms industry and gun-running, starring Nicolas Cage and Ethan Hawke. Yuri Orlov (Cage) starts his career as an arms dealer on the streets of Little Odessa in the 1980s, selling handguns to mobsters. By the 1990s, after entering into a partnership with an insane African warlord, Orlov is one of the most successful arms dealers in the world. But success comes at a price, as Orlov's career damages his relationships with his wife and his younger brother, and as determined Interpol agent Jack Valentine (Hawke) decides to bring him down. Drunk on his own success and plagued by his inner demons, Orlov spins rapidly out of control.
The lethal business of arms dealers provides an electrifying context for the black-as-coal humor of Andrew Niccol's Lord of War. Having proven his ingenuity as the writer of The Truman Show, and writer-director of Gattaca and the under-appreciated Simone, Niccol is clearly striving for Strangelovian relevance here as he chronicles the rise and inevitable fall of Yuri Orlov (Nicolas Cage), a Ukrainian immigrant to America who makes his fortune selling every kind of ordnance he can get his amoral hands on.
With a trophy wife (Bridget Moynahan) who's initially clueless about his hidden career, and a younger brother (Jared Leto) whose drug-addled sense of decency makes him an ill-chosen accomplice, Yuri traffics in death the way other salesman might push vacuum cleaners (he likes to say that alcohol and tobacco are deadlier products than his), but even he can't deny the sheer ruthlessness of the Liberian dictator (a scene-stealing Eamonn Walker) who purchases Orlov's "products" to expand his oppressive regime. Niccol's themes are even bigger than Yuri's arms deals, and he drives them home with a blunt-force lack of subtlety, but Cage gives the film the kind of insanely dark humour it needs to have. To understand this monster named Yuri, we have to see at least a glimpse of his humanity, which Cage provides as only he can. Otherwise, this epic tale of gunrunnng would be as morally unbearable as the black market trade it illuminates.-- Jeff Shannon --This text refers to an alternate DVD edition.
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Top customer reviews
The film opens to the iconic scene of Yuri Orlov (Nicolas Cage) standing amid the latest war-torn carnage where the ground is carpeted by spent cartridges as he starts to tell the story. Orlov is the son of refugees from the Soviet Union (more precisely Ukraine) who had pretended to be Jewish immigrants in order to get into the United States. Orlov and his brother Vitaliy (Jared Leto) are both ‘lost’ and headed nowhere. After witnessing a mob hit on a restaurant, Orlov decides he’s going to sell guns. We see his first sale to a mobster and follow his career as it grows through the 1980’s but it’s the fall of the Soviet Union and the scramble for Africa that really kicks off his success.
The film is shot in a mock ‘fly on the wall’ documentary style as we witness his rise to success and watch as he manipulates those around him. I won’t give much more away other than to say it’s all based on real world events and just like a documentary you are bombarded with statistics and facts relating to the times and the arms trade. Although these are mostly blended into the story quite well, in certain places some do jar and seem patronising which destroys the atmosphere being a bit too overbearing [lose a star].
However, despite the subject and often cavalier approach, the film does try to show a moralistic outlook. Cage plays his usual laid back style to perfection but I soon found him at odds with the character he was playing. The real star of the film has to be Eamonn Walker who plays André Baptiste Sr. [President of Liberia] with a frightening psychotic realism. The film also has some humorous moments such as why you shouldn’t park your cargo plane on an African dirt road and how you can ship a combat helicopter to a war zone because the paperwork is all in order. Another bizarre fact is that the production team rented 3000 real SA Vz 58 rifles to stand in for AK 47s because they were cheaper to use than prop guns.
Despite being a tad over 2 hours this 2005 never felt dated or boring, but I guess its one of those films you’ll either love or hate. If you liked things like ‘The last King of Scotland’ ‘Grosse Point Blank’ or ‘Blood Diamonds’ this could be for you and at under £3 for a new disk you might as well take a chance..
Indeed, even the spoof 'QVC' commercial before the film, offering AK47's to anyone who can afford to pay is worth the price of the DVD. But in the end, the film boils down to that immortal quote by Edmund Burke:
"Evil prevails when good men do nothing."
Or as Nicholas Cage states rather bluntly, "Evil Prevails."
By far the most powerful example of this is the character of the Gunrunner's brother; a 'Good Man' who is sickened and enraged by the sight of the weapons his brother sells being used to murder women and children. But instead of killing his brother or even speaking up, he struggles to drown out the screams of his conscience by turning to booze and cocaine.
Towards the end of the film however, he tries to do the right thing; giving his life in the failed attempt to protect a refugee camp full of women and children. But by then, it is already far too late, and the massacre still goes ahead as planned.
Of course, it's the President of Liberia who has some of the best lines in the film.
"A 'USED' Gun? That's a good one."
"I try to set an example but it is difficult, eh. Personally, I blame MTV."
"A bullet from a 14 year old is just as effective as one from a 40 year old. Often more effective. No one can stop this bath of blood."
But when push comes to shove, it is Nicolas Cage's soliloquy after he's been arrested which really drives the nail home:
"Soon there's gonna' be a knock on that door and you will be called outside. In the hall, there will be a man who outranks you. First, he'll compliment you on the fine job you've done; that you're making the world a safer place, that you're going to receive a commendation, a promotion. And then he's going to tell you that I am to be released.
You're gonna' protest. You'll probably threaten to resign. But in the end I will be released.
The reason I'll be released is the same reason that you think I'll be convicted. I do rub shoulders with some of the most vile, sadistic men calling themselves leaders today. But some of those men are the enemies of your enemies. And whilst the biggest arms dealer in the world is your boss, the President of the United States who ships more merchandise in a day then I do in a year, sometimes its embarrassing to have his fingerprints on the guns. Sometimes he needs freelancers like me to supply the forces he can't be seen supplying."
And finally, just to annoy those people who still support the `War on Terror,' here is a quote from an American comedian that really sums up this "Battle of Good vs. Evil" for me:
"Saddam has terrible weapons of Mass destruction."
"How do you know?"
"Err, we looked at the receipt."