In order to foil an extortion plot, an FBI agent undergoes a facial transplant surgery and assumes the identity and physical appearance of a terrorist, but the plan turns from bad to worse when the same terrorist impersonates the FBI agent.
This film charts the rise and fall of Yuri Orlov, from his early days in the early 1980s in Little Odessa, selling guns to mobsters in his local neighbourhood, through to his ascension through the decade of excess and indulgence into the early 90s, where he forms a business partnership with an African warlord and his psychotic son. The film also charts his relationship through the years with his younger brother, his marriage to a famous model, his relentless pursuit by a determined federal agent and his inner demons that sway between his drive for success and the immorality of what he does. Written by
Nicolas Cage's Yuri Orlov is largely based on the exploits of international arms dealer Viktor Bout, a former Soviet officer, who was finally arrested by Thai authorities in March 2008. Bout, known as the "Merchant of Death", was trying to make a deal with American Agents, who were posing as F.A.R.C. insurgents when he was apprehended. After languishing in a Bangkok prison awaiting extradition by the U.S., he was tried, found guilty, and awaits sentencing in a Manhattan prison. The quote from Orlov seems appropriate, "I know that just because they needed me that day, didn't mean that they wouldn't make me a scapegoat the next." As a further reference, Orlov's father is named Anatoly, just like Bout's father. See more »
Both times Yuri takes Vitaly to rehab, the exact same close-up shot of Yuri's hand pouring cocaine out of a vial onto the arm rest of their limo is used. It is colored differently the second time it is used, but it is still the exact same shot. See more »
[last lines, to the camera]
You know who's going to inherit the Earth? Arms dealers. Because everyone else is too busy killing each other. That's the secret to survival. Never go to war. Especially with yourself.
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I was really surprised that Hollywood was able to tackle a huge moral morass like the black market arms trade and leave the moral issues in the audience's lap. Yuri (played by Nicholas Cage) goes to work in a particularly ugly world. When he says that he's had a bad day at the office, you can be pretty sure that someone has been shot or blown up. At any event, what I liked about this picture was that although Yuri obviously has some moral issues to wrestle with, he does so on his own terms, and we are left to figure out the rights and the wrongs. Since most movie-goers don't like to leave a movie with food for thought, this picture may not play very broadly in theaters, but I hope it gets a good audience on video. I also though that Jared Leto was wonderful as Yuri's tragically addicted and unhappy brother.
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