'Thank You For Smoking' for arms dealers.....
H. Jin | Melbourne, Australia | 07/21/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"`Lord of War' is a jet-black satire that follows the rise and rise of Yuri (Nicolas Cage), a Ukranian-American who eventually becomes one of the world's leading arms dealers. In cynical fashion, Yuri narrates his life story, demonstrating how he succeeded in the arms trade through a combination of ruthless ambition and complete indifference to the motives of his clients. We follow his relationships with his drug-addicted brother Vitaly and his model wife Ava, his cosying up to a brutal African dictator, and his pursuit by incorruptible Interpol agent Jack Valentine (Ethan Hawke).
This is certainly one black comedy. Warfare and arms dealing are hardly light-hearted subjects, but the film is able to find humour in the darkest situations. Cage's droll, cynical narration and a tight, fast-paced script succeed in portraying the often absurd nature of global politics and international trade. The satirical nature of the film is balanced out by more serious scenes portraying the pointless violence and brutality in West Africa, particularly during the second half of the film. Think `Blood Diamond' crossed with `Thank You For Smoking' and you'll get some idea of the tone of `Lord Of War'.
The characterisation is a bit of a mixed bag, but the cast do a good job in their roles. Nicolas Cage has done this stream-of-consciousness navel gazing many times before (`Bringing Out The Dead', `Adaptation', `Weather Man') so if you liked him in any of those films you'll appreciate his performance here. Ethan Hawke gets the balance perfect as the incorruptible Valentine, making him principled without being naïve. I also really liked the character of Weisz, the supposedly "principled" arms dealer who only sells to those whose cause he supports. But Jared Leto and Bridget Moynahan are saddled with mediocre characters. Vitaly serves no real purpose at all except to be "messed up" and cause trouble for Yuri. And Ava isn't particularly sympathetic despite her plight; she seemed perfectly happy to play the doormat trophy wife and live off the back of Yuri's ill-gotten gains, only to come over all moral and principled late in the film.
While I personally quite liked the film, I do have a couple of problems with it:
Firstly, there is no real development of Yuri's character at all, despite everything that happens to him in the film. For something that's supposed to be a character study, it's frustrating that there's not even a hint of either redemption or come-uppance.
Secondly, there is a fair amount of predictable Hollywood moralising, such as equating the Florida recount (have they still not gotten over that yet?) with brutal African dictatorships, plus the inevitable claim that it's the US and its allies who are really the bad guys. Undoubtedly there's some truth here, but the heavy-handed nature of the preaching feels clunky and forced given the satirical nature of the rest of the film.
These drawbacks prevent `Lord of War' from being a truly great film, but it is still a very good one. Highly recommended for those who love their humour dark and have a healthy cynicism about world affairs. Four stars.
rongo | 07/26/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"very good product. 13 items bought at the same time, combined shipping was not considered. shipping for 13 dvd's was $35.00 which is outrageous. there shipping cost was $8.00 ........ should improve the combined shipping policy........ would buy more items from you if shipping was not so un-reasonable."
Brian Nallick | Mpls, MN | 09/13/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There are over 200+ reviews for this movie so I'll make it short.
Excellent acting, script, score, pacing, etc...
The film held my attention from first frame till the last.
A top notch movie all around.
Nothing really, the movie is a tad on the preachy side.
Guns bad, ok we get it.
The movie should have been less preachy and focused more on the emotional impact on the victims.
Otherwise an excellent film.
Cage turns in a great performance.
I still didn't buy it for one second he was Ukrainian though...
Lord of War comes.....recommended."