This turned out to be a very well executed and brave film, and one I wouldn’t hesitate on recommending to people.
Yes there are parts which are violent, which maybe you would rather not see, but they did tell the story, and the scenes are done in a way that does not glorify the acts. Shown through the first person of Yuri Orlov (Nicholas Cage), whose family pretended to be Jewish to escape the rigours of the USSR, and who, when we join him, now longs to escape the poverty of the not so promised land. He becomes an arms dealer and always manages to keep one step ahead of Jack Valentine (Ethan Hawke), an Interpol agent. There are moments of humour and pathos and some absolutely mind blowing facts, such as – Over $32 billion of arms were ‘stolen’ from the Ukraine in the 10 years following it’s break away from the USSR, and, there are enough guns in the world for every 12th person to own one.
We hear Yuri’s story as he makes his first deal with great trepidation through using family contacts back in the USSR to get his hands on Soviet weapons piles, through to him having influential people’s mobile phone numbers and dictators of African countries visiting his Manhattan Penthouse. Jared Leto who plays Yuri’s brother Vitaly shows the other side of the path that Yuri takes, and while Yuri ends up with the money, the house, the car, the girl, the planes etc Vitaly ends up spending his life going in and out of rehab for his cocaine habit. The story has an unexpected twist at the end, for those who do not know it, and in that twist probably lies one of the greatest challenges for the world today.
One, in my book, not to be missed.