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Slo-mo, The Weapon of Choice
by Sarah L. Polson

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True to indie move form, Lord of War makes a big impact on a smaller budget. But you wouldn't know from the looks of it that this wasn't your typical $100 million movie. It's got an all-star cast plus the cinematography to back them up.

Really, it's pretty amazing what they did with their "small" budget of only $50 million. There are a lot of different elements that add to the quality of this movie. It was hard to pick out just one to dive into and explore for this column.

So, using the eenie-meenie-minie-moe method, I chose to focus on an element of Lord of War that helps add to the satirical nature of the movie. Yes, I would classify it as a satire. At the very least it's a drama/dark comedy.

There are elements of humor and cynicism injected into this movie that make it more of a satirical look at the arms trade rather than a true drama. An element that supports this is the use of slow-motion in some scenes.

The scene that stands out in my mind is a scene where Uri Orlov, played by Nicolas Cage, is standing by while a customer tests out a gun. As the scene plays, it's slowed down so we see the gun's action in slow motion and then the sound of the gun changes to that of a cash register rather than the sound of a real gun.

That's pretty cynical in and of itself as this weapon of death becomes the sound of money for Uri. The slow motion only adds to the affect. The best way I can convey that is to compare it to a scene in another movie.

This is a pretty crazy comparison, but think of the scene in Jim Carrey's The Grinch where he's riding a little tiny car and crashes it. As he's running away in slow motion, the car bursts into a huge explosion in the background.

It's an obvious parody of the big explosion scenes in action movies where the hero miraculously outruns the blast.

That's what the slow motion of the gun scene reminded me of in Lord of War. It was like a tongue-in-cheek reference to a scene in Rambo or any other big gun and warrior movie. Which also adds to the irony later then when one of his customers asks for the "gun of Rambo."

But I digress. The point is we already know that these guns aren't necessarily going to be used to just shoot down the bad guys like the ones in Rambo. It's not about morality or taking sides for Orlov, it's all about the money.

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Smoke and Mirrors
Every other Wednesday

Movie magic isn't just about special affects. Sarah L. Polson shows you the other tricks and techniques used to manipulate movie goers.

Other Columns
Other columns by Sarah L. Polson:

A Whale of a Tale

Violence with a Purpose

In Living Color

I'm Ready for My Close-up

Put Your Best Face Forward

All Columns

Sarah L. Polson
As a journalist from the midwest, Sarah L. Polson has a few years under her belt writing in the newspaper world. Having worked mainly in news writing, deviating from "just the facts" is a new experience for her.

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Sarah L. Polson by clicking here.

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