Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Filtered report/Lord of War film premiere

Last night I dragged myself to charming Leicester Square to attend a screening of the new Nicholas Cage testosterone vehicle Lord of War (due out in October). Films with titles like this are definitely not my thing and I wouldn't expect much from the 'acclaimed' director Andrew Niccol (The Truman Show, Gattaca). As a film writer who prefers arthouse and independent cinema, I tend to forget how low Hollywood can sink. Lord of War, with its pretence to be a denounce of the hypocrisy of first world countries who sell arms to third-world warlords, is so racist and misogynist that it's almost impossible to believe. The women all look like they exist in a Brazilian beer ad (the organisers of the screening even hired some girls in tight camouflage shorts to hand out the film's press kit. So much for political seriousness...). Nicholas Cage, who increasingly looks like he's been embalmed, seems to have lost his acting skills; and poor arty-at-heart Ethan Hawke looks lost as an Interpol agent. Really. I have this theory that directors who started out in the London advertising world, like Niccol did (following in Ridley Scott's steps) make the worst type of films. Their films tend to look glossy, but in that car-advert sort of way; the imagery is designed for instant gratification, not to linger in your imagination and create a life of its own. At the end, some people had the nerve to applaud the film (always a terrible faux-pas) when the figures about the arms trade appeared on the screen. When I looked back, I saw a bunch of straight boys, nerdy in appearance, doing the applauding. Then it hit me who this type of film is for.

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