The opening sequence is so wonderfully whizbang, it threatens to render the rest of the film unnecessary. Writer-director Andrew Niccol follows a single bullet from its creation to its use, from the factory to the forehead of a young African boy. Wordless, seamless, flawless, it does Niccol's dirty work for him. Might be the best couple of minutes at the theater all year. All Niccol had to do from there was tell the tale of gun-running Yuri Orlov (played by Nicolas Cage): his restless childhood in Brighton Beach, his introduction to and fascination with gang violence, his rise to the top of the gun-running heap, his fragile friendship with dictator Andre Baptiste and his Rambo-obsessed son, his game of cat and mouse with an Interpol agent (Ethan Hawke). When he sticks to the narrative without referencing the footnotes, he's got something special. But then Niccol unloads the speeches and statistics and small talk used to make the larger point that guns are bad and the people who sell them even worse, and the great Lord of War becomes a load of bore.
Director: Andrew Niccol
Writer: Andrew Niccol
Producer: Michael Lionello Cowan, Jason Piette, Philippe Rousselet, Nicolas Cage and Norm Golightly
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Ethan Hawke, Jared Leto, Bridget Moynahan, Eamonn Walker, Jeffrey Wright, Donald Sutherland and Monica Bellucci