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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