Release Date: September 16th, 2005 by Lions Gate Films.
The Cast: Nicholas Cage, Bridget Moynahan, Jared Leto, Ethan Hawke, Ian Holm
Directed by Andrew Niccol.
BASIC PREMISE: Yuri Orlov (Cage), an arms dealer who supplies weapons to foreign leaders, is pursued by Interpol agent Jack Valentine (Hawk).
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Nicholas cage is perfectly cast as Yuri and makes the film very fun to watch. His charisma and energy reflect how much he truly enjoys his role. What makes Yuri so interesting is that he is a very complex character who leads a double life. His first life is with Ava Fontaine (Moynahan), a beautiful model, with whom he falls in love with and lives with. She knows that he is hiding some kind of secret about his work, but she has no idea that he is internationally involved in arms dealing--which is his second life. It is both interesting how he lies to her that he is wealthy enough to own a private plane. All he does is hire painters to repaint his last name on the plane---it is funny to watch how the wet paint drips away as the plane flies. In a similar scene, he has one of his workers rename a ship loaded with weapons that is approached by Interpol agents. Once they arrive on the ship, Yuri deceives him again by hidding the weapons underneath hundreds of rotten potatoes. When he travels to Africa to make a delivery, he meets a very strict and cruel lord of war who puts a lot of pressure on him. Then there's Interpol agent Jack Valentine who continues to cross his path and question him. At one point, he handcuffs him in the middle of nowhere in Africa while his plane is slowly being taken apart by the people. With a fast pace and beautiful cinematography, this scene is quite humorous, especially when ultimately nothing is left of the plane. Then, his brother Vitaly (Leto) joins him and ends up hesitating to distribute the weapons. He puts both of them in jeopardy but ultimately forces Yuri to question is lifestyle. The plot has a few surprising twists thanks to Yuri's connections to powerful people. It is obvious and predictable that his secret job will be revealed, but the real suspense is in wondering when that moment will come and how because often Yuri outsmarts the Interpol agents. What makes this story even more powerful is that it is actually based on a true story.
SPIRITUAL VALUE:Yuri makes a lot of thought-provoking arguments about the ethic of his line of work. It is hard to put a label on him as either good or bad because he never actually kills anyone. All he does is supply people with weapons that they might have gotten elsewhere and they do the killing. In a confrontation with Jack Valentine, he wisely states that the president is also a dealer in arms because he is actually in charge of shipping thousands of weapons to aid foreign leaders. That does not mean that either one is a good guy, but it is rather a strong, resonating political statement of how our own government indirectly promotes violence.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: It hard to believe how Yuri's girlfriend Ava doesn't notice how shady and deceptive Yuri is to her. She notices small things, but she fails to connect the dots even when Interpol agents are searching their garbage. If only she were more smart and perceptive.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 0
THE BOTTOM LINE: A smart, funny, witty, and immensely entertaining satire. Nicholas Cage has never been better! This is one of the most important and timely films of the year.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)
The "L" Menu