We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
Yuri Orlov argues that his products kill fewer people than tobacco and alcohol. He has a point, but it's more fun and takes longer to die that way. There are few pleasures to be had from an AK-47 bullet to the brain, and no time to enjoy them. Yuri is an international arms dealer who has "done business with every army but the Salvation Army." He cheerfully tours the world's flashpoints, a war-to-war salesman in a dark suit and tie.
"Lord of War" is a bleak comedy, funny in a Catch-22 sort of way, and at the same time an angry outcry against the gun traffic that turns 12-year-olds into killers and cheapens human life to the point where might makes not only right, but everything else. Yuri is played by Nicolas Cage in another of those performances you cannot easily imagine anyone else doing; he plays an immigrant from Ukraine who has the cocky self-assurance, the snaky surface charm, the breezy intellectual justification for the most indefensible acts. He will sell to anyone, anytime, he tells us during his narration, which confides the secrets of his trade: He never sold to Osama bin Laden, because "he was always bouncing checks."
Yuri's world is a small one. He has few competitors and a short but frequently updated list of clients. The world's leading arms dealer when Yuri goes into business is Simeon Weisz (Ian Holm), who prefers not to do business with people he thinks are evil, although his definition of evil is extremely flexible. Yuri asks Simeon to let him team up, an offer Simeon rejects; he'll eventually lose a lot of business by that decision.
The clients come from all over. There is a moment in the film when Yuri gets some bad news: Peace talks have started in a particularly promising market. He shifts his focus to the Bosnian arena. When they say they're having a war, "they keep their word."