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.Read more ›
The opening words to Nicolas Cage’s new smash hit, Lord of War.
The plot centres around Yuri Orlov (Cage) a Ukrainian refugee who makes his million in gun running with his younger brother Vitaly, played by the ever growingly popular and understandably so, Jared Leto.
The movie tracks Yuri’s progress from working in his parent’s café in Little Odessa, to selling guns to Russian mobsters in his local neighbourhood to conquering the worlds market in tanks, bazookas and machine guns for wars spanning the world’s surface.
As well as tackling the morality of what he’s doing to the world Yuri tries to keep his wife and son in the dark and keep his cocaine-ridden brother at bay.
In a recent interview talking about the film Jared Leto says the film is “Part political film, part social commentary, part character study and entertaining all at the same time, it’s a fascinating movie.” And it really is, it sets aside all the conventions of political cinema before it and really cracks down with an explosion of a movie that avoids that feeling of being lectured like so many others have fallen victim to in the past and really hits the spot to entertain with a star studded cast, sex, guns and drugs really dragging in the younger audience to what would be an 18 rated movie if it wasn’t for the moral messages involved.Read more ›
If this bored you go and watch a Steven Seagal movie or something. This is an intelligent, well crafted, serious movie, and there's not many of them being made anymore!
For anyone unfamiliar, Cage stumbles into the arms-dealing trade. He becomes the best there is and it makes him rich, but the means by which he makes his money is unbeknownst to his family. When it starts having drastic effects on other things in his life he starts to reconsider and it all gets a bit dangerous. There are a lot of accurate and hard-hitting moral messages here and anyone with half a brain should be able to pick up on the intelligence of this movie. But as I said, if you need lots of effects and explosions and cheesy lines, go find an Van Damme film.
As there are spotlights on tragedy, strife and morality it is perhaps tempting to pigeon-hole the genre of the film more precisely, but I would label it as a drama with some elements of being a thriller (so don't expect anything like 'Die-Hard' !). However, I am quite certain that it is not, as the Amazon synopsis refers to it, a 'black-comedy' in the general sense of how I judge such films; I don't think there are any laughs to be had nor opportunities to refer to various occurrences as bleakly ironic. There are obviously some very serious aspects to what it depicts, namely: the often nasty personalities involved and eventual victims of the 'products' being bought/sold, but the overall aim is to 'lighten' the associated moral messages with stylistic, often novel, production-values and a snappy musical soundtrack. Be in no doubt though, that whilst the presentation is designed to entertain the overall aim is to inject those moral messages into your thought process....
The opening of the movie reinforces that concept, by way of an artistic collation of scenes depicting the 'journey' of a bullet from manufacture to being fired into the head of a young African boy who himself is firing a gun; aside from being unusual in presentation, the message derived from what we see is clear - things are usually dealt with more subtly from then on.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not quite as good as I was expecting. And certainly not one of Mr Cage's best efforts.
I think the serious bits were not pitched well and the character building bits... Read more