Talk about harrowing. Lord of War is the kind of film that makes you bawl and gasp and hate it even though you just can't stop watching.
It's really well made and the performances are brilliant. Nicolas Cage as the amoral, money-hungry illegal arms dealer is scary and disturbing and so believable. His character was sickening. He knows without a doubt that the guns he is making money from are killing millions of completely innocent people, and he chooses to not care, to turn a blind eye. Even after he loses the people closest to him, he still goes on, deciding not to care. There are several moments in the story where his loyalties are tested, and while watching, at each point, I thought "this is it, he's going to do the right thing now and admit his mistakes". But no. Each time I was truly shocked that he proved me wrong. He was so fascinatingly, conflictingly, wrong. I almost said "evil" then, but I didn't even feel like he was evil. Just as if he was so apathetic that he was really unable to make any choice other than the one he'd orginally made to sell guns. That was all he could do, and choosing to do anything else would be admitting himself human and fallible.
Ethan Hawke was wonderful too. It took me until at least halfway through before I realised the cocky investigator was Hawke. I love when actors lose themselves like that.
By far the most disturbing part of the film, for me, was the very end, when some text comes up saying "Based on actual events", followed by "The five biggest arms dealers in the world are the governments of the USA, China, the UK, Russia, and (somewhere else, I can't remember). Those five nations also make up the UN Security Council."
Scary, yes? That's the bit that got me crying more than the disturbing and awful murders in the actual film. Freaked me right out. Who exactly are we supposed to depend on to keep the sodding world safe, huh?
So anyway, brilliant film. I recommend it. But not if you're not in the mood for a good old mind-disturbing freak-out session.