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Lord Of War Review


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Nicolas Cage addresses the camera directly at the start of Lord of War - standing in a battle-torn street, with a carpet of bullet casings under his feet and automatic weapons popping off in the distance - letting us know that there's a gun for one out of every 12 people on the planet. This is a problem, but not in the way you or I might think, since he wants to know, "How do we arm the other 11?" It's a jaunty joke of an opening, in a deathmask grimace sort of way, and just may lull you into thinking that what lays ahead is a Grand Guignol satire on modern warfare and the soulless arms dealers who fuel it; a M*A*S*H for the lawless post-Cold War years. Alas, such hopes are dashed by the appearance of Jared Leto as the world's least likely Urkranian-American gunrunner and borscht chef.

Andrew Niccol wrote and directed this globe-trotting comedy, taking an amalgam of five real-life arms dealers and pooling them into the blithely amoral Yuri Orlov (Cage). One imagines that Niccol cherry-picked the most interesting incidents from the exploits of all five, and indeed there are many moments when the film does its level best to pull back the curtain on this worldwide machinery of death. The problem is that Niccol, as he showed in such gleaming symbolic edifices like Gattaca and his warm script for Peter Weir's The Truman Show, is a true humanist at heart, and just can't bring himself to stick to the story. It's apparently not enough to just tell us about Orlov, Niccol's film feels it must explain him, so we can feel that dark thrill when he abandons his soul altogether. This leaves us shifting abruptly from Orlov's international capers - often vividly rendered with a black humor that surprisingly tart for Niccol - to his home life, where he lies to his adoring, hardly inquisitive model-wife (Bridget Moynahan) and deal with his slacker junkie brother (Leto). A Scorsese would have know how to whip all these elements together into a frenzied stew where Orlov's business life crashes headlong into his private life with calamitous results. But under Niccol's cool eye, Cage barely breaks a sweat. He may be the devil but he's calm about it.

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Lord of War Movie Review

Lord of War Movie Review

Nicolas Cage addresses the camera directly at the start of Lord of War - standing...

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