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Lord of War (2005)

Cast: Nicolas Cage, Nicolas Cage, Jared Leto, more...
Director: Andrew Niccol, Andrew Niccol
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Rating:
Studio: Lions Gate
Genre: Drama, Suspense/Thriller, Political Thriller
Running Time: 121 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish
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Synopsis
One man demonstrates how to get rich selling warring nations the tools of their deadly trade in this dark comedy drama. Yuri Orlov (Nicolas Cage) is an opportunistic businessman who stumbled into a gold mine after the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Huge caches of Soviet weapons became available at bargain prices (and even for free if one wasn't above stealing), and as literally billions of dollars' worth of Soviet military technology disappeared, it began finding its way into the hands of weapons dealers eager to sell it to the highest bidder. Orlov was one such dealer who found plenty of buyers for guns and military gear in unstable Third World nations, who paid cash and didn't appreciate too many questions. Orlov's exploits in the arms business quickly made him a very rich man, but they've also led to some unwanted attention from Jack Valentine (Ethan Hawke), an Interpol agent who is convinced Orlov isn't playing by the rules. Inspired by a true story, Lord of War also features Jared Leto, Ian Holm, Bridget Moynahan, and Donald Sutherland. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide






Read GreenCine's exclusive interview with Andrew Niccol.

"I was always just interested in arms trafficking because there is so much attention on drug trafficking, but this is so much more devastating," writer and director Andrew Niccol tells Sean Axmaker. Following the "social science fiction" of Gattaca, The Truman Show and S1m0ne, Niccol turns to the here and now in Lord of War. Full article >>


GreenCine Member Reviews

How much for your soul? by thingstodo February 26, 2006 - 12:09 AM PST
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0 out of 2 members found this review helpful
Unlike films like "Scarface" where I just can't wait to see Tony gets his, I followed the Yuri Orlov (Nicholas Cage) character with sympathy but simultaneously disapproval for the choices that he makes, all the while just hoping that he'd just quit the business of smuggling dangerous weapons to evil men. I got the sense that he's not really enjoying what he does but just ends up doing it because--well--as he puts it, "I'm good at it."

From a fateful day when he sold his first uzi, reasoning that he just found a way to satisfy one of the fundamental needs of men to kill, we follow Yuri through his sometimes comical adventures in smuggling guns and almost enjoy the fruits of his labor. He has gotten big, rich, and--yes--successful. He masters the trade. He has the connections. It's all fun and games, as they say, until someone gets hurt.

And then we're led to see what exactly people do with the guns they buy.

As the music stops, it's almost as late for us to repent as it is for Yuri; it's way passed the 30-day return period of the deal we made with our soul. Even if we want to go straight or "legit," as they call it, we are so entwined in the process that it's no longer a decision for us to make.

The best lines are spoken near the end of the movie between Yuri and the Interpol agent (Ethan Hawke) that has spent his days persuing him.


Gunning for the Big Time by talltale January 13, 2006 - 8:59 AM PST
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5 out of 5 members found this review helpful
New Zealander Andrew Niccol has written/directed three original, worthwhile and hugely under seen/under-rated films over the past 8 years: "Gattaca," "Simone" and now LORD OF WAR. (His written-by but not directed-by credits include the disappointing "Truman Show" and the dreadful Spielberg/Hanks "Terminal," so perhaps he should always direct his own work.)

His latest film tells the story of the rise and--well, you decide--of Russian/American arms dealer/gun-runner Yuri Orlov, and it does for guns what "Syriana" attempts to do for oil. But Niccol is more focused, relies less on coincidence, and tells a more coherent and involving story. There's neither a bad nor even a mediocre scene in the entire movie yet, considering the level of writing and direction, the film ought to soar.

What keeps it just slightly earthbound is the performance of Nicholas Cage, an actor who's most at home with angst, trauma, tics and weird ("Leaving Las Vegas," "Wild at Heart," "Vampire's Kiss," or "Matchstick Men"). Cage is rarely light on his feet ("Adaptation" was a welcome exception), and that's what this film could have used in its lead actor: think Pierce Brosnan, Peter Sarsgaard or any number of more versatile performers. Cage is funny (as in "Moonstruck") due more to the situation--to what's going on around him and his co-stars' performances--than his own ability to make us laugh.

This role calls for the kind of innate sophistication and non-pushy charm that an actor either possesses or does not. (Cage's is the pushy kind, and there's a place for that, but not here.) As the "Lord of War" co-producer and its somewhat bankable star, Cage probably called the shots, inadvertently insuring that the movie does not work as fully as it might. In Niccol's "Simone," Al Pacino was completely over the top--and as funny as he has ever been--helping that terrific little movie take wing in a way that "Lord" never manages. Still, this one is definitely worth a watch.




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