Nicolas Cage is a man that likes to run with flashlights with strange haircuts on his head. I'm not into that, so most of the time, I'm trying to stay clear of of him. I don't watch his movies, so he doesn't try to creep on the magazine covers that much. I hear now and then though, that Lord Of War is THE one good Nicolas Cage movie. When Josie browsed Netflix on Saturday morning and asked me: "Baby, do you want to watch this? It's the one good Nic Cage movie". It was too much for me, I cracked and finally watched it.
Lord Of War is a fictional account of the gun trade. Yuri Orlov (Cage) is a fictional character, but apparently, the history lesson in the movie is pretty accurate and Orlov is a plausible example of the kind of person the drug trade builds. The son of an Ukrainian immigrant in Little Odessa, New York, Orlov wasn't satisfied to work at the family restaurant, so one day, after witnessing a violent mob confrontation in the neighborhood, he decided to start selling gun with the urge to be the best. He meets Simeon Weisz (Holm) at Berlin Gun Fair, who make him understand that the only way to succeed as a gun salesman is that feed both sides of a war so they can destroy each other.
Stone cold in front of human sorrow, Orlov quickly rises to the top and gets whatever he ever dreamed of, included the stonking hot Ava Fontaine (Moynahan). With the success and the fame also come Jack Valentine (Ethan Hawke), a dedicated Interpol agent with a Robin Hood complex, determined to take Orlov down. I don't know how much of a documentary value Lord Of War has, but what I liked best about it is it's presentation. Yuri Orlov rose up from the dirty streets of Little Odessa to become someone, but it's at the price of his soul. Feeding African dictators weapons, so they can conduct massacre over massacre is something the viewer tends to forget as Orlov is being portrayed in a very sympathetic manner. Other characters don't seem to forget it though as they gradually make a vacuum around him at the movie goes.
Lord Of War is one of those movies that I'm not sure how to watch. It tries to place itself above morality, but I feel it did a poor job at being objective about the work of Yuri Orlov. Whenever his brother Vitaly (Leto) and him saw people die from the weapons they sold, Orlov kept saying "It's not our fight". I beg to differ, if you sell guns, it's your fight. If you're feeding both sides weapon, there's an ethics problem to be had somewhere down the road. I guess the lesson to be learned is that if you only care about money, people will leave you alone in your tower of value. Very Taoist. Everything needs balance, even war. When it's economically enhanced by money hungry people, it's not war anymore, just a senseless massacre. Lord Of War is an awkward bit of storytelling, but it's a sincere effort to say something that matters.