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Analysis on the Setting of "lord of War"

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Analysis on the setting of "Lord of War"

Here, I'd been running away from violence my whole life, and I should have been running towards it. It's in our nature. The earliest human skeletons had spearheads in their ribcages.

As the opening credits of Andrew Niccol's "Lord of War" unspool, we are treated to a rapid-fire montage showing us the entire life span of a single bullet from its beginnings on an anonymous mechanical assembly line to its ending in the skull of an equally anonymous person. In a way, this sequence serves as a pretty good harbinger of the film to come-both are alternately informative, horrifying and blackly funny and come to conclusions that still manage to pack a wallop despite being essentially pre-ordained.

Like "Blow," which chronicled the explosion of the cocaine industry in the 1970's, "Lord of War" is a rags-to-riches story in which the hero achieves the American dream of a big house, gorgeous babes and tons of cash at the expense of the misery of countless victims of the product that he unhesitatingly sells with the enthusiasm and energy of a used-car dealer. The product this time is weapons-make that lots of weapons-and the "hero" is Yuri Orlov (Nicolas Cage), a Ukrainian immigrant who wants more than a life working in his parents' restaurant in the Little Odessa section of New York would seem to promise. Almost by accident, he finds himself selling a couple of guns to some local thugs and discovers that he has a knack for it. Before too long, he begins to expand his business across the globe and since there is always some skirmish or other going on and since Yuri has no compunctions about who he sells to (with one exception, though to say who would ruin one of the funniest lines), business is always booming (at one point, he has so many weapons to sell that he begins dealing them by the kilogram.) For a while, Yuri enlists younger brother Vitaly (Jared Leto) to assist him but he isn't as capable of seeing it as just as business and starts drowning his guilt in drugs.

When the Soviet Union collapses in 1991, Yuri is able to exploit that, thanks to a distant relative in the Russian military, in order to get his hands on an incalculable number of guns, tanks, missiles and other armaments that were built (and largely unused) during the Cold War. Now one of the biggest gun-runners in the world, Yuri begins to attract the attention of dedicated Interpol agent Jack Valentine (Ethan Hawke), who is desperate to throw him in jail; although outraged by the way that he exploits loopholes in UN trade agreements to sell more weapons, Valentine is too personally dedicated to law and order to bend the rules to bring the obviously guilty Yuri in. The stockpile also attracts the attentions of the violent dictator of Liberia (Eamonn Walker), who is eager to do business in order to quell any possible uprisings from those he is oppressing. (His son, on the other hand, just wants a gun "like the kind that Rambo had"). When things become too dangerous, Yuri makes a half-hearted attempt to stop dealing arms in order to make things right with his long-suffering wife (Bridget Monyahan). That lasts just until the dictator literally arrives on his doorstep with a deal too big to refuse and which leads to a wildly unpredictable (except maybe to Yuri) chain of events.

In order for a film like "Lord of War" to work, it needs to show the seductive nature of the business of arms dealing as well as the darker and more horrifying aspects-otherwise; it simply becomes a one-sided screed that plays only to the converted. As the story hops from one hot spot to another, the film does a good job of conjuring up the kinetic high that can be had from being in a line of work in which the participants get as much of a rush from flouting the rules of society as they get from any common monetary gain. Two of the best sequences show Yuri thinking and acting fast on his feet to avoid capture from the



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