I'm not overly fond of Nicholas Cage, he, like Keanu Reeves, consistently appears wooden in his roles. With Cage it is always Cage playing Cage. But I must admit he was quite good in Kick Ass, a film I thoroughly enjoyed. In Lord of War I'm afraid it is just Cage playing Cage. But somehow this role fitted him and anyone else would have been too serious for the role. Cage somehow brings a nervous uneasiness to his role as an arms dealer that another actor may not have.
When I think back this film did play here in Napier but because of Cage I didn't see it. Whilst not a great film overall the opening credits is something to be seen. It involves the life of a bullet. It goes through its machining and maufacturing stage, to its packing and delivery stage, to its loading into a weapon and then its firing, where we see it enter the head of a black guy in battle. It is a stunning opening credit to a movie and by far the best you will ever see.
As I have said this is not a great film. That does not mean it is bad either. It is the story of a Russian emigrant to America who is disillusioned with where he is going and virtually stumbles into selling guns. He starts out small but is not happy with the amount of money he is making and gradually gets bigger and bigger until he hits the big time selling post Cold War Russian armaments.
It is a movie based on true events. I have read papers from Massey University on the arms trade and I found this film to be quite accurate in its depictions.
But it is a film that doesn't glorify the trade. In fact it does go into the morality of it. At the end Cage's character is released from a potential prison sentence because the American government needs him to deliver arms to a country it supports but without being seen to. It is a real blight on governments and the lies they tell while they are doing exactly what they are denying. Undeniability it is called. By using an arms dealer they can be seen to be not supporting a certain regime when in fact they are.
But it also explores a sub-plot in regards to what money can do to the soul. Cage makes so much he can virtually buy himself a trophy wife and keep her in luxury. He owns many planes to transport his arms and can bribe virtually anyone he pleases. But as he finds out it has a price and he loses his wife and child for lying about his business and refusal to leave it. It gets his brother killed and himself landed in jail.
Overall this film will never be regarded as great. But it has a valid point to make in hightlighting the arms trade and morality behind it. Cage is his usually wooden self but he somehow is perfect for the role.
An unremarkable film but one with a worth while message.
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