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LORD OF WAR by Andrew Niccol

lord of warlord of warlord of warlord of war

Yuri Orlov (Nicolas Cage), an Ukrainian immigrant who can’t believe it’s his destiny to work in his parent’s restaurant in Brighton Beach, finds himself an alternative. Like people will always need to eat, there is something else they will always need – weapons. And there is more money in weapons than in restaurants. He starts small, but after the crumbling of the Soviet Union, thanks to his uncle Dmitri, general in the Soviet army, he gets into the multi-billion dollar business of plundering the former Soviet army’s weapons and selling them to anybody who is interested, mainly to African warlords. Yuri convinces himself that he is not responsible for what happens with the weapons he sells – it’s “not his wars”. And neither Interpol agent Jack Valentine (Ethan Hawke) nor witnessing brutal murders, his first own murder or the loss of his little brother Vitaly (Jared Leto) can stop him. Yuri doesn’t think of himself as an evil person. He just does it because he’s “good at it”, he tells his wife Ava (Bridget Moynahan), an Ukrainian model who doesn’t really want to know how Yuri finances her expensive life-style.

The essence of the movie is already captured in the title sequence – the way of a bullet from manufacturing through various weapons dealers straight into the head of an African boy soldier. But that’s a connection Yuri is not willing to make. He regards and behaves himself just like a normal professional sales person, even when witnessing brutal slaughterings or being paid with a few kilo of cocaine. He doesn’t take sides, what happens with the weapons he sells is not his responsibility, and he is totally void of any morale. For Yuri, it’s not a problem to sell weapons to a warlord who will massacre the people in a refugee camp just a couple hundred feet away right after the deal, just as he doesn’t have any qualms to cheat on his wife and claiming to really love her. The message is clear, and everybody gets it – the audience, Yuri’s family, his wife – the only one who doesn’t get it is Yuri himself – and the government that protects him. Because they are using him to do the deals they can’t do themselves for political reasons.
Nicolas Cage is perfectly cast for this film – you despise what he does, but he still appears to be a normal, nice and witty guy, not some slimy, violent, despicable villain who is easy to spot and easily condemned. He is just your everyman with no morale or conscience – the true incarnation of evil.

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