Lord of War

They say, "Evil prevails when good men fail to act." What they ought to say is, "Evil prevails."

Last night, Mr. Shakes and I watched Lord of War, a film written and directed by Andrew Niccol about international gunrunners—and I can’t recommend it enough. See this movie.

The main character, Yuri Orlov, is played by Nicolas Cage, and was written by Niccol as a composite of five real-life arms dealers. It follows him for about two decades, as he builds his business, exploits the fall of the Soviet Union, creates uneasy business alliances with African warlords, gets married, has a child. As we come to understand precisely what it is that Yuri does, and the resignation that allows him to do it, the film is neither smug, nor blithe, nor heavy-handed. It is only now that I consider his wife, who never questioned from whence her 18-carat earrings came, is really me—and every other person who doesn’t look too closely at the ugly sources of their freedoms and fortunes.

Lord of War could be the deleted scenes from Hotel Rwanda—the scenes that show how such things are made possible, beyond the human nature that opens the door.

There are so many scenes I’d like to recount, but it would ruin the movie. I’ll just say this: When it was over, we watched the end one more time, and let its reality wash over us again. And then we talked about why the world is the way it is, and wondered if it can ever be any different.

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