Lord of War
starring Nicholas Cage, Jared Leto, Bridget Moynahan, Ian Holm, Eamonn Walker, Sammi
Rotibi, Eugene Lazarev and Ethan Hawke
written and directed by Andrew Niccol
“Selling guns is like selling vacuum cleaners.” It’s the American dream, from a country born of military violence that harbors a culture with a technology fetish that adores firearms - and nuclear bombs, the space shuttle, the electric chair and the personal computer - for the beauty of their mechanism and the arithmetic of their engineering.
“Lord of War” is a mis-take of “Warlord.” Luckily, it sounds a lot grander and more menacing, doesn’t it? I think Nicholas Cage is a great actor. But this is not a great film. It does, however, deliver some embarrassing truths that American administrations don’t want the American people to be overly familiar with. The U.S. government is the single greatest arms merchant in the world. TheUnited Statesis the greatest producer, stockpiler and user in the world of weapons of mass destruction. Never mind what the White House and the Pentagon said about Saddam Hussein or currently say about Iran and North Korea. What the Bush administration resents the most about those countries is not that they make/purchase a lot of weapons, but that they do not buy them from American suppliers. It is Americaand its “military-industrial complex” that is the greatest threat to peace, security and prosperity in the world.
We have a very interesting premise: international arms dealer is always one step ahead of Interpol, occupying a legal gray area in countries around the world, but primarily in chronically strife-ridden Africa. Shadowy branches of American government - CIA, Pentagon, NCA - are his loose partners and protectors. Yuri Orlov (Nicholas Cage) works his way up from New York’s Russian immigrant enclave, Little Odessa, to multimillionaire arms dealer. His nemesis is Interpol Agent Valentine (Ethan Hawke), a very unconvincing, naïve cop, or else a total incompetent at his job.
It is a lackluster film that I cannot recommend. It has a great title, though.