Lord of War Andrew Niccol

It is Andrew Niccol's unique artistic vision that elevates Lord of War from potential Bruckheimer-style schlock-thriller to thought-provoking piece-de-resistance. Having already predicted the rise of invasive reality television in The Truman Show and taken an uncomfortable look at the potential future role of genetic engineering in Gattaca, Niccol turns his lens on the lucrative million-dollar world of illegal arms dealing. Through the character of Yuri Orlov (Nicolas Cage), the director shows us one man's rise to the top of his chosen profession, showing in minute detail the emotional and physical devastation left in his path. Aided by superb performances from Ethan Hawke as a righteous Interpol agent and Jared Leto as Yuri's drug-addled but, ironically, more conscientious brother, Cage is able to play out every nuance of a character who is fully aware of the evil he is perpetrating but sees it simply as the one thing he has ever been good at. Shot on a remarkably low budget given the quality of the visuals and effects, the included commentary offers many disturbing details of the film's creation; a scene which required a warehouse of thousands of Kalashnikovs was cheaper to shoot with actual guns, as were scenes with hundreds of tanks and a Russian gun-running plane. Included docs highlight the more creative aspects of the film, as well as some of the more disturbing aspects of its politics. (Maple)