Movie Reviews (such as they are)

Monday, November 06, 2006

Lord of War

This movie is what the Hollywood marketing machine has told us is an "intelligent film". What that means is that it doesn't treat its viewers like a complete fucking dumb-ass. It's not your typical "you'll-understand-this-even-if you're-a-fucking-moron" Hollywood fare.

Don't get me wrong: I love Hollywood. I watch a lot of mindless drivel. I buy a lot of mindless drivel. But I know it's mindless drivel, and enjoy it for what it is.

Lord of War stars Nicolas Cage, who is probably one of my favourite actors. His presence lifts even the most boring of films into something better than boring. We also knew that the great Eamonn Walker (seen here, with Cage) is in it, if only in a tiny role. Walker is a black Briton who is most famous for playing the Muslim leader Kareem Said in the greatly missed HBO prison drama Oz. So we were pretty certain this was the movie for us. But the clincher for Wife was that Jared Leto is in it too.

Cage plays an arms dealer. And the plot is essentially an excuse for a look at the politics of such a role in the world today (although it is set in the mid-1990s), and how all world leaders are essentially gun-runners for the developing nations. So it's only an "intelligent" film if you didn't already know this, which maybe lots of people didn't.

The lead actor is his usual watchable self. Leto, however, is woefully underused. He is such a great young actor and he should have had more to do. The same exact thing applies to Walker.

The problem with this film is that the director wasn't intelligent enough to realize there's absolutely no need for a "love interest" subplot. Any interactions between Cage and his on-screen wife (the woman who played Mr Big's wife Natasha in Sex and the City) are slow and boring and have no place in a movie on these themes. It's clear from the off that she's only there to lead to his downfall.

Overall, though, better than most mainstream Hollywood fare. It's a bit like a cool independent movie with a bigger budget and bigger stars. And it's got a surprisingly quotable script, too.

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