Saturday, May 13, 2006

Nicholas Cage, Jared Leto, Ian Holm, Bridget Moynahan

"The first and most important rule of gun-running is: never get shot with your own merchandise."

Yuri OrlovAt first I thought it was another one of Nicolas Cage's action packed movies which tend to be over the top, really noisy scenes masquerading as car chases and explosions going off every few minutes. But, I was pleasantly surprised to learn - it had an underlying theme and powerful message against the proliferation of weapons/guns.
He portrays Yuri Orlov, an Ukrainian immigrant living in New York who becomes a well established gun runner. Accompanied by his younger brother, he travels to the war zones and the war torn areas to sell rifles, arms and military paraphernalia to governments, different warring factions, the insurgents and rebels. They proliferate a vicious cycle of genocide, massacres and bloody reign of terror. Places like Beirut, Cambodia, Liberia and the former Soviet Union are portrayed vividly in the movie. We are led on by Nicholas Cage's voice over regarding the wheelings and dealings of this lucrative industry of gun running and arms dealers. Hot in pursuit after Yuri's tracks is a 'by the books', incorruptible Interpol agent played by Ethan Hawke.
The movie moves at a fast pace. It has a good soundtrack of different songs in the language of the places he travels to and it helps build up suspense. Although there were several scenes where they didn't provide any subtitles whenever Yuri spoke in a foreign language. But I guess the director thought it was irrelevant. The viewers would more or less understand from the gestures what they were talking about.
Nicholas Cage is quite convincing as the guilt free arms dealer who only wants to earn money and doesn't really let the whole issue dampen his resolve. Jared Leto, on the other hand plays his cocaine addicted brother quite effectively in a subdued manner. He is more sensitive to the plight of the refugees, the displaced population who suffer as a result of these wars perpetrated by the rebels. Ethan Hawke, Bridget Moynahan and Ian Holm provide minor supporting roles and the African actors in the film came across as quite menacing thus giving plausible performances.
The more powerful message of the movie is revealed towards the end. It will certainly make one more aware of what really happens in the world today. It is a thought provoking film which exposes the vile truth regarding the true brains behind the arms dealing industry.
This quote says it all: "The reason I'll be released is the same reason you think I'll be convicted. I *do* rub shoulders with some of the most vile, sadistic men calling themselves leaders today. But some of these men are the enemies of *your* enemies. And while the biggest arms dealer in the world is your boss--the President of the United States, who ships more merchandise in a day than I do in a year--sometimes it's embarrassing to have his fingerprints on the guns. Sometimes he needs a freelancer like me to supply forces he can't be seen supplying. So. You call me evil, but unfortunately for you, I'm a necessary evil."

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