Lord of War is an excellent film, I think because the screenwriter had something to say (in this case about the arms trade) and said it. So many screenplays have no point of view and no attitude and ultimately have no interest. Howevever such is the skill of Niccol's writing, as those of you familiar with his work won't be surprised, that you don't feel preached at, he just presents the reality.
The lead character Yuri has justifications or rationalisations that make sense and makes it difficult for the audience to see him as pure evil. Sociopaths are fascinating and scary and the ultimate anti-hero. While that's interesting for the thinking film-goer,it does scare off studios and financing was difficult.
There is, however, an act of bravery toward the end which I didn't quite believe, considering the likely outcome. But that could just be because of my own cowardice. I've just called in Rentokill because there's a spider in my bath.
The movie's clever and witty and highly recommended. If you haven't seen Niccol's previous screenplays Gattaca, The Truman Show or the under-rated S1m0ne (and even if you have) might I suggest renting them and having an Andrew Niccol weekend.
"I mean, I just write what interests me; I know it's arrogant to say, but you just have to go into it hoping other people are interested as well." Niccol from his IGN interview: http://filmforce.ign.com/articles/651/651252p1.html
"It’s always a challenge to get my movies off the ground because I tend to have expensive ideas, and that’s bad. As a rule, it is better if you have an unconventional idea to make it inexpensive. Don’t try to make an expensive unconventional idea because getting that made is always a trick because you need to attract actors to it that can help you get it made." Niccol from his MovieFreak interview:http://www.moviefreak.com/features/interviews/andrewniccol.htm
"There are only two questions in Hollywood I've realized: Who's in it? And how much does it cost? That's it. Those are the only two questions I'm ever asked." Niccol from his Ugo interview:http://www.ugo.com/channels/filmtv/features/lordofwar/niccol.asp
"Cannonballista" / "Richard III Redux"
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