out of Five
Running time: 121
Enjoyable film with some terrific scenes and a strong central performance by Cage, though it runs out of firepower before the end.
If you’ve seen the trailer for Lord of War, you could be forgiven for thinking that it was another Nic Cage action movie in the mould of Con Air
or The Rock
, given its fondness for the twin pleasures of explosions and guns (lots of guns). However, the film is actually a darkly comic drama that takes a hefty swipe or two at the state of the world today
Nicolas Cage narrates and stars as Yuri Orlov, a Ukrainian-born American who gets into gun-running in the 1970s, hits the big time in the 1980s and adapts to the pressures of a changing world in the post-Soviet 90s, (largely by supplying guns to both sides of any given conflict).
Along the way, he has to deal with his brother’s (Jared Leto) involvement in the business, whilst staying one step ahead of a dogged Interpol agent (Ethan Hawke) who’s determined to bring him down. If that wasn’t enough, Yuri makes powerful friends and equally powerful enemies (main rival Ian Holm) and even finds time to pursue a supermodel (Bridget Moynahan).
Cage is perfectly cast and he’s on top form here, subtly combining elements from both his action movie persona and his more quirky, off-kilter performances. There’s also strong support from both Ethan Hawke and Jared Leto, as well as Ian Holm and Eammon Walker.
Director Andrew Niccol is clearly concerned about the whole darn world going to hell in a handbasket and Lord Of War makes this point within about 20 minutes. Unfortunately, it then keeps on making it, over and over and over again, to the point where you just want to shout out, Okay! I get it! Guns are bad!
Bridget Moynahan is hopelessly miscast and her atrocious performance comes close to ruining the film. She has one key emotional scene that would have been quite moving if it had been played by an actress who could actually act, but instead it falls horribly flat.
In short, Lord of War is definitely worth seeing, thanks to some memorable scenes and a strong central performance by Cage. However, you can’t shake the feeling that with a bit of a rewrite, it could have been a much better film. Great poster, though.