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PCR # 286  (Vol. 6, No. 37)  This edition is for the week of September 12--18, 2005.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"Lord of War"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith
Three stars

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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Lions Gate Films     
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Jared Leto, Bridget Moynahan, Ian Holm and Ethan Hawke
Directed by: Andrew Niccol
Rated: R
Running Time: 2 hours 2 mins

As "Lord of War" opens, we meet gunrunner Yuri (Cage) in mid sales pitch. We learn that there are 550 million guns in the world, approximately one for every twelve people. His job: selling them to the other eleven. Firm in his convictions, Yuri let's us know that he's never sold guns to Osama bin Laden. Not for moral reasons, mind you. It's just that his checks always bounce!

Yuri and his brother, Vitaly (Leto) live in the Little Odessa section of Brooklyn. Like most of their neighbors, their family emmigrated to this country from the Ukraine. One day, after finding himself a witness to a hit from the Russian Mafia, Yuri gets the idea to become a gun seller. He begins with the Israli made Uzis but soon finds himself dealing in weapons from all over the world. He is also very accommodating. When the son of a dictator tells him he wants the same gun that Rambo uses he asks, "Rambo 1, 2 or 3?" When his business takes off, he does his best to impress a famous model, a woman he's secretly longed for most of his adult life. After they are married Yuri gets great news: the Berlin Wall is coming down, which will give him more opportunities to sell to more people. All the while he is being pursued by a very determined ATF agent (Hawke), who always ends up one step behind Yuri. Meanwhile, Vitaly keeps ending up in drug rehab, though he occasionally shows up accompanied by girls with names like Angel and Candy. Though he makes his living dealing in violence, Yuri refuses to let his young son play with a toy gun. The deals get bigger and the danger that goes with them does the same until he must make a choice that will change not only his life, but the lives of those around them.

Though a little slow in the second hour, "Lord of War" is a well written film with a great cast that takes the material and makes it believable. Cage is his usual fine self, giving heart to, and making you sympathize for, a character that could easily be a villain. His reasoning's keep him going no matter how questionable. He's not pulling the trigger so he really can't be doing wrong. Leto does well as the younger brother, addicted to cocaine. His blonde hair dyed black and with a perpetual 3 day beard Leto, like Billy Crud dup, is more interested in performance rather than appearance. Moynahan is touching as the wife, doing her best to look the other way so as not to discover the truth behind the man she loves. Writer/director Niccol, who also penned "The Truman Show," fashions a story that keeps you entertained from beginning to end.

On a scale of zero to four stars, I give "Lord of War"  Three stars

This week's movie review of "Lord of War" is ©2005 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2005, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2005 by Nolan B. Canova.