Starring: Nicolas Cage, Jared Leto, Ethan Hawke
Director: Andrew Niccol
Running Time: 122 mins
Lord Of War is an American film about an arms dealer who, while expanding his operations to conflicts across the world, finds himself at a crossroads as he considers the morality of his profession, all while being pursued by the long arm of the law.
With an insightful look into the real world of international arms dealing, a thought-provoking discussion of the morality of the industry, and a powerfully dark brand of humour throughout, Lord Of War is certainly a striking watch.
Bolstered by a captivating lead performance by Nicolas Cage that brilliantly encapsulates the film’s murky blend of immorality, real depth and anarchic dark humour, this movie is full of enthralling energy throughout, made all the more engrossing with its references to real-life events.
In that, Lord Of War really hits home when it’s walking that tightrope between heavily dark satire and genuinely sobering drama. At moments, it’s an uncomfortable but deliberately provocative look at the illegal arms trade, and at others, a cathartic dive into the murky morality of the industry and the people involved in it.
Over the course of two hours, maintaining that perfect balance is always going to be an impossible task, and it’s fair to say that Lord Of War does lose its way from time to time as it leans too heavily on either its dark satire or its more earnest dramatic content.
As a result, the film isn’t quite an enthralling watch at every second, but even during its weaker moments, it delivers intriguing drama with fantastic depth, providing a thought-provoking indictment on the morally ambiguous world of illegal arms dealing.
And it’s that focus on moral ambiguity that really brings the film to life. Although on the surface Lord Of War is a fairly scathing indictment of the illegal arms trade, it brings in an intriguing assessment of where the industry is sometimes (arguably) in the right and in the wrong.
That balance prevents the film from ever feeling too much like a political rant, and plays in well to its anarchic brand of satirical humour.
So, overall, I really liked Lord Of War. A captivating watch that provides a good blend of biting satire and cathartic, thought-provoking drama, it’s full of energy, depth and fantastic insight from beginning to end. Bolstered by an excellent lead turn from Nicolas Cage and a screenplay with a lot to say, it’s a strong film right the way through, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.5.