Lord of War (2005, Andrew Niccol)

“Every faction in Africa calls themselves by these noble names – Liberation this, Patriotic that, Democratic Republic of something-or-other… I guess they can’t own up to what they usually are: a federation of worse oppressors than the last bunch of oppressors. Often, the most barbaric atrocities occur when both combatants proclaim themselves freedom-fighters.”

Funny, a riot of a movie, and the most I’ve enjoyed watching Nic Cage since “The Rock” (though I hear he was awesome in Wicker Man remake).

Nic has no morals and neither does the film. Rather than preaching all Hotel Rwanda and Last King Of Scotland on us, the movie takes Nic’s side, making its violence funny and nihilistic, just an unfortunate side effect of business as usual. The downfall comes as expected… Nic loses his uncle (blown to bits), then his brother (shot down trying to destroy some weapons) and his wife (leaves him, takes the kid) and finally gets arrested for illegal arms dealing. But the movie subverts expectation one last time by having a powerful general (based on Ollie North) set Nic free, because the U.S. armed forces need people like him to do things that they can’t be caught doing themselves.

Funny I was thinking how it’s an all-male movie with a token part for the wife when she comes out with this dialogue: “I feel like all I’ve done my whole life is be pretty. I mean, all I’ve done is be born! I’m a failed actress, a failed artist… I’m not much good as a mother. Come to think of it, I’m not even that pretty anymore.”

Pretty stylin’ movie, nice CG-assisted intro following a bullet from factory to a shocking war-zone head-shot. The movie is amoral to make its point, but it doesn’t expect its viewers to be.

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