I've said before how I don't really like Nicolas Cage. I can probably change that to I don't like him when he's being bat-shit crazy; because in Kick-ass he was good and in Lord of War he's great. As Yuri Orlov he has the right amount of arrogance, confidence and gift of the gab that an arms dealer (presumably) needs. He manages to make the character deplorable for what he does and how callous he is, yet at the same time makes us sympathetic towards him; and his narration is pitch perfect. Jared Leto is also very good as Yuri's drunk, cocaine-addled, washed-up brother Vitaly.
I love the opening credits showing the manufacture of bullets from the moment they are first pressed out of a sheet of metal to the moment it blows a child's head apart. Make no mistake, this isn't really a pleasant film, it is based on real events that go on in the world. The nut job dictators that murder their own women and children (well those children who aren't willing to use an AK47) in the name of freedom exist in the world. The movie is therefore quite political; to the extent that when I first saw the DVD of Lord of War, this Amnesty International short was before the credits.
Technically the film isn't amazing, though there are some nice sweeping shots and a very cool time lapse of a plane being stripped overnight. What director Andrew Niccol has done is successfully told a story about appalling events that could be happening right now and made it into an enjoyable film. Though as well as being entertaining there is always an overriding sense of dismay.