He Sells Guns… And He’s Making A Killing.
Nicolas Cage plays Yuri Orlov, one of the world’s biggest arms dealers, who claims to have supplied every army but the Salvation Army. Apparently being based on true events, the narrative tells us how Yuri became such a prominent figure in the trafficking of firearms, starting with his family’s exodus from the Ukraine, going over to the cold war, the end of the cold war and concluding with his temporary apprehension in 2003. Between making deals with the world’s biggest warlords he woos the beautiful Ukrainian model (Bridget Moynahan), founds a family, takes his brother (Jared Leto) into rehab, outsmarts the FBI (Ethan Hawke) which is constantly tracking him and avoids being shot with his own merchandise. Ultimately not everything works out quite the way Yuri would have liked it to, but somehow he always manages to get away with just a scratch. He won’t quit doing what he does, because he is good at it.
The movie clocks in at about 2 hours of running time during which you have not only been bombarded with constant gunfire but also with an insane amount of trivia tidbits about the arms industry. Lord of War sometimes feels too artificial and makes you think you are watching some kind of over edited and overproduced documentary that is not entirely honest with itself. Nevertheless, it is an uncompromising portrait of an extremely successful and determined man who was also a moral asshole and never short of a cool thing to say. This, however, makes it quite difficult for the audience to feel any compassion for the main character as the movie unfolds. Moreover, if you are not particularly fond of Mr. Cage it should be pointed out that he achieves nearly omnipresence in his latest work. Even when he is not physically on screen, he still remains the narrator of the story and can be heard in the voice-over. Despite some major flaws, Lord of War is still worth a look because of its ethically challenging premise, nice visuals, an original credit sequence and great lines worth quoting. Where there is a will there is a weapon. (2.5 out of 4 ghosts in the shell)