LORD OF WAR (9/16/2005)
Director: Andrew Niccol
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Jared Leto, Bridget Moynahan
My Rating: 8/10
Rotten Tomatometer: 61%
PLOT: A black market arms dealer confronts the morality of his work as he is pursued by an Interpol Agent (Ethan Hawke).
“There are over 550 million firearms in worldwide circulation. That’s one firearm for every twelve people on the planet. The only question is: How do we arm the other 11?”
In addition to that great opening line, “Lord of War” has a LOT of others. Here are a few of my favorites:
“I never sold to Osama bin Laden. Not on any moral grounds: back then, he was always bouncing checks.”
“I don’t put a gun to anybody’s head and make them shoot. But shooting is better for business. But, I prefer people to fire my guns and miss. Just as long as they are firing.”
“Bullets change governments far surer than votes.”
“Lord of War” is mostly forgotten nowadays, which is a shame, because its message regarding the morality of selling guns to people who use them specifically to kill other people…well, to put it mildly, it’s a topic on the minds of a LOT of people right now.
The movie is well-oiled and well-executed. It actually reminds me a lot of “Goodfellas”, with the Nicolas Cage narration filling in important pieces of exposition, and, of course, with a great antihero. It moves along briskly, using clever editing and a visual style that keeps things exciting, even during the slow bits, of which there are one or two. (The opening credits sequence, which follows a single bullet from manufacturing plant to its ultimate destination, is a stunner.)
Nicolas Cage gets SO much flak from movie lovers, but I like him, especially in this film, where he’s actually pretty laid back most of the time. He gets most of his normal histrionics out of his system in one scene, as he tries to get African natives to unload a plane full of illegal guns and ammo. Aside from that, he’s remarkably calm.
“Lord of War” is outrageously provocative, even more so when you consider it’s loosely based on a true story. Look it up somewhere and see what you’ve probably been missing.