Lord of War (2005)

Crime, Drama, Thriller
Nicolas Cage, Ethan Hawke, Jared Leto, Bridget Moynahan
An arms dealer confronts the morality of his work as he is being chased by an Interpol agent.
While Lord of War is an intelligent examination of the gun trade, it is too scattershot in its plotting to connect.
  • Lions Gate Company:
  • R Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 16 Sep 2005 Released:
  • 17 Jan 2006 DVD Release:
  • $24.0M Box office:

All subtitles:

Trailer:

Just Evil Prevails10/10
Atop a hillside in Liberia overlooking an impending village massacre once the arms deal settles, Nicolas Cage's Yuri pleads to his conscience rattled brother Vitaly (Jared Leto), "It is none of our business!" Writer and Director Andrew Niccol's "Lord of War" is all about the big business of war, and the cost of selling one's soul. That lost soul is Yuri Orlov played masterfully by Nicolas Cage. Cage as Yuri also narrates the story. Niccol sets the warped and dark tone in the opening sequence of the manufacture of a bullet to its final destination—so to speak. Yuri comments that there is one firearm for every 12 people in the world. So the question is "How do we arm the other eleven?" Niccol's "Lord of War" is not so much a clever indictment of humanity, rather an acknowledgment of perhaps humanity's darker nature. In a poignant and chilling realization for Yuri (Cage) he says, "They say that 'evil prevails when good men fail to act.' It should be 'evil prevails'." I don't think this is cynicism on Niccol's part, rather only stating what is so given all of history and now. He certainly makes us think from the inside out.

Yuri Orlov (Cage) is from a Ukrainian family in Little Odessa, NY. As a young man he has an epiphany witnessing a Russian mafia hit. Being an arms dealer is the path to success. He finds that he also has an innate gift for his chosen profession. He enlists his brother Vitaly (Leto) into the business. "Lord of War" traces the Orlov brothers over the course of 20 years—through the end of the Cold War to the advent of terrorist threats and dictatorships in third world countries. Yuri truly becomes the Lord of War supplying arms to anyone and any country for a profit. He also acts as an independent agent for undisclosed countries supplying arms to "freedom fighters". One gets the drift. Yuri eventually hits his stride and becomes very successful and very wealthy. He marries his trophy bride, supermodel Ava Fontaine (stunning Bridget Moynahan), has a son, and living in a luxury apartment in Manhattan. All the while he eludes the grasp of Interpol Agent Jack Valentine (very good Ethan Hawke), by keeping three steps ahead. Predictably Yuri's world comes crashing in upon him. In a powerful scene with Ava who purposely ignores what her husband really does for a living, Yuri has a conscience meltdown.

The actors in "Lord of War" are great. Nicolas Cage is such a powerful and versatile actor. I don't think any other actor than himself, could enroll sympathy as arms dealer Yuri. Cage gives Yuri a subtle detached edge and an expert in context. Cage knows he is in morally bankrupt position, and he uses his smarts and sense of humor to rationalize that he only supplies the weapons to men who do evil. Yuri is the ultimate poster child for "Guns don't kill people. People kill people." Jared Leto is surprising as the coke head brother, who eventually cops to the monster he has become—the counterpoint to Yuri. Bridget Moynahan is deceivingly powerful as Ava, the former model aware that her asset of being pretty is fading, and closes her eyes to what her husband does until it is too late. Moynahan is stunningly beautiful and has distinctive grace and vulnerability. Ethan Hawke as Jack Valentine is the intrepid idealist saving the world from the likes of Yuri. Hawke is very strong and compelling.

Andrew Niccol's "Lord of War" ends and the world continues on. The echoes of Yuri voice, just "evil prevails" is a chilling and poignant reminder. Nicolas Cage is brilliant as the lost soul in "The Lord of War". "The Lord of War" is one the year's best.
story-telling perfection10/10
A movie about a gunrunner who arms the dictators, tyrants, and genocide-perpetrators of the world should not be this deliciously funny. Lord of War is story-telling perfection. The opening scene depicts the life of a bullet, from its creation in the factory to the moment it blasts through the head of a poor African child. Nicolas Cage is Yuri Orlov, the son of Ukrainian immigrants, who becomes the world's most successful arms dealer. Writer/director Andrew Niccol took every major world conflict of the part 25 years and seamlessly incorporated them into a smart, funny, complex story about violence, corruption, and the essence of warfare. Lord of War has no clear-cut, black-or-white, good-or-evil "moral of the story," but no intelligent observation ever does. It's just a fabulous film. "I never sold to Osama Bin Laden," Yuri tells the audience. "Not on moral grounds, but because his checks were always bouncing back then."
Lord of War is the Lord of Movies this year.10/10
Yuri Orlov(Nicolas Cage) tells his humorous, disturbing, and tragic story of coming from nothing to becoming the greatest gun-runner in the world.

Lord of War could not have been made better. The narration by cage was not only hysterical but when needed to be, emotional. The acting was the best this year. Cage showed me that he could find a character that actually fit him and the supporting cast with Jared Leto and Bridget Moynahan was incredible. I have never seen a movie that was so funny and so dramatic since my viewing of American Beauty.

The writing was beautiful. There is nothing more to say about it. It was just B-e-a-t-i-f-u-l. The movie is also very entertaining which can't be said about most dramatic movies but then again this movie is more than just dramatic, it's in it's own category! The story is gripping and makes you want Cage to succeed in his illegal actions after you have seen the other side of his criminal lifestyle. It characterizes every day warlords to the point where you understand them and sympathize for them and maybe even blame the American government due to fact that it is based on actual events. Overall, the movie was incredible and honestly one of the best this year.

I highly recommend this movie.
Another powerful well-made political drama with an excellent story and a powerful performance by Nicolas Cage9/10
"Lord of War" is about a man named Yuri (Nicolas Cage) who in the early 80's decides that he doesn't want to just work in a restaurant for the rest of his life and decides that instead he wants to be an arms dealer. Once he makes his first sale, Yuri is hooked on the feeling of making big money for selling firearms, and continues to sell the firearms but he wants more and more of a profit and more and more of a challenge. It's not until an Interpol agent (Ethan Hawke) is hot on Yuri's case that he begins to question the nature of his business and whether what he is doing for a living is moral and if he should be responsible for the hands these weapons get into and what they are used for. A powerful performance by Nicolas Cage, as well as a great thought-provoking movie ensues… I love movies like this one for a few reasons. The main reason is that for the most part you can't predict what is going to happen next or where the film is going. Another reason I like movies like this is because it's powerful and its makes you think. And lastly I like a movie like this because it doesn't end in a typical way and actually leaves you feeling blown-away and surprised.

The filmed starred Nicolas Cage who lately has done of some the best work of his career. His performance here is top-notch and powerful. There are so many other people in the film including Jared Leto, Ian Holm, Ethan Hawke and Bridget Moynahan to name a few who are also very good at the roles they played. This film is written and directed by Andre Niccol the same man who wrote "The Terminal" and "The Truman Show" so I guess I shouldn't be so surprised by why I actually liked this film so much, it had a good lead actor and a good screenwriter.

I guess this movie all comes down to how open minded the movie-goers who see this are. I guess it also amounts to where you stand on the political fence. The film is not for those who don't have an open mind about things that are going on in the world today. The movie is based on true events so be warned that some of things shown in the film are happening in real life or did happen at one point in time. To be honest, I do believe what the film states in the end, it doesn't seem at all far fetched. It's like Yuri says in the film "it's not our war and no matter what we do we can't stop it" and that's true it's like smoking kills people every day but there are people who run cigarette companies everyday knowing that they are killing people every single day and getting people addicted to something that in the end will kill them. Is that moral? What can we do to stop it? These are questions this film asks and leaves it to the viewer to decide on.

So in the end, this movie isn't for everyone. In a sense this film is kind of like the movie "Blow" because it's about a man who feels his life isn't complete without selling something that is bad. He has everything he could ever want but still needs to sell the firearms. It's an amazing and powerful story which I feel really puts things in perspective as far as us Americans look at things. Nicolas Cage's performance is incredible as he seems to not care at all for the people's lives he puts at stake every day and when it comes to his own life he still seems unemotional and doesn't seem to worry. Personally I think this is one of the best film's of year and is in fact just as good as the other political drama currently released called "The Constant Gardner" so if you have an open mind about things and enjoy movies that will make you think, well check out "Lord of War" because it's well worth the price of admission at the theater.

MovieManMenzel's final rating for "Lord of War" is a 9/10.
The Truth About Guns & Wars9/10
Many people might walk away from this one not feeling "entertained" because it's not your typical Hollywood thriller. It's not a "Feel Good" movie you should take a date on in the hopes of coming away high on life and hand in hand. It's a movie that'll make you think and might disturb the uninformed viewer who knows little about the politics of war.

This is a movie based on actual events (that means it's a movie that has some truth to it). From what I heard the director made quite a bit of research of the gun running world when creating this movie.

This movie takes a look at the gun running business through the story of one particular trafficker played by Cage. It goes through two decades of wars & conflicts and how the business and politics of gun running works. Cage is the middle man in that world, who navigates through it very professionally and coolly. Cage's character is made to be likable, but not a hero by any means.

Many people may think that this movie depicts certain cultures and races in a bad light, but if you know anything about history and keep up to date with world events you'll understand the truth behind these portrayals.

The movie is interesting because it is as close as to a realistic look to arms trafficking as Hollywood could produce without making a documentary. It's refreshing because of this.

I hope people see this movie because it very much shows the truth behind how wars are supplied and how the richest nations in the world have done this for the ultimate prize… that thing that makes the world go round – Money.

The movie as a whole is produced very well and the acting and cinematography is up to par with the type of film it is (as mentioned before, don't expect a big production Hollywood action flick).

Don't expect your typical Hollywood ending here either.

(I'd compare this movie with Buffalo Soldiers (2001) with Joaquin Phoenix)