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The Look And Feel of the Film
"I tend not to see the movies I make,” comments actor Jared Leto. "But I'm really curious about this film because it's so unique and the scale of it is so…well, normally this film would have a tiny budget but the people that are backing this film are obviously really brave. It makes me really curious because of the subject matter and the size, the scope – it feels like a huge movie though it's an independent film.” 

He continues, "Lord of War is part political, part social commentary, part character study and entertaining all at the same time.”

The scope and diverse influences of Niccol's writing and directing have made it more difficult to categorize this production though Niccol himself looks upon the film in simple terms. "Since Yuri is an international arms dealer, the movie is essentially a road movie,” says the director. "The film features over 13 countries that are unified by the dramatic cinematography of Amir Mokri and the ingenious production design of Jean Vincent Puzos. Their talents combine to depict the sad absurdity of the world of arms dealing.”

Rousselet also praises the talents of designer Puzos for creating the often gritty war-torn surroundings that Yuri Orlov thrives in, even though Puzos was working with limited resources. "It's a $50 million picture and it's a very independent picture, it's very hard to make it look like what it should be in the script and it requires a lot of effort from everyone in the crew. They have worked on a limited budget and come up with a movie that when you look at the screen, you think it's like a $200 million picture.”

"It's an incredible movie,” says Leto. "Because visually you see things that no one of us really have seen. After a battle in the streets what you get is literally a carpet of empty shells and we never see that. It takes you to places which are unexpected.” 

He concludes, "It's political to me just because of the time we are in. Now it seems even more important. It will definitely make you think.”

Co-star Hawke agrees he also cannot help but see the political side of this film, something that is explored throughout Lord of War as today's world is seen through the eyes of the arms dealer. "The truth of the matter is that this country (the U.S.A.) makes a lot of weapons and we sell a lot of weapons. And we sell them to a lot of poor people who kill each other with them,” explains Hawke.

Producer Norm Golightly concurs. "It's really a snapshot of a character who walks his own moral line, in a way, who sticks to his own code that he's defined for himself in a world very much grounded in reality. And also a snapshot of how our world works today and what happens behind the scenes, what a lot of people suspect, as opposed to what you see on the news every evening.”

However, if an audience interprets any political message in the film, this first and foremost seeks to remain a drama. "If you have a script called ‘Lord of War', when people first see the movie, it may seem like an action movie but it's not - it's a drama,” expounds Nicolas Cage. "It's a play on the genre and the presentation of that style of filmmaking but it's going in a whole different direction.” Cage was also attracted to what he terms as the ‘black humor sensibility' that ran through the film and which balanced the intense reality of Orlov's arms dealing with moments of real humanity. Co-star Ethan Hawke also found himself drawn to the intermingling of black humor and drama within Niccol's story.

"The film will inevitably end up in the ‘drama' aisle of the video stores,” muses director Andrew Niccol. "If it is in the ‘arms dealing' section it may be the only film there since it is a world we have seldom, if ever, seen before. Hopefully audiences will find it a thought-provoking film.”

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