Wednesday, August 25, 2010

In the Cage of Hosea

Pop Quiz: Is Andrew Niccol's "Lord of War", released in 2005, starring Nicolas Cage as the gun-runner Yuri Orlov...

a) A splendid character study of a lost soul, as well as an astute critique of modern government and the commercialization of warfare.
b) A repugnant, self-indulgent bit of tripe that exploits the antihero genre as a means to depict a series of increasingly vile scenes.
c) Don't ask, don't tell

They feed on the sin of My People
and direct their desire towards their iniquity.
Hosea 4:8

Yuri Orlov is Gomer.  He is a harlot of the people.  He has sold his soul for... well, I'm not sure the film ever answers that question.

The revolters have gone deep in depravity...
Their deeds will not allow them 
To return to their God. 
For a spirit of harlotry is within them
And they do not know the LORD.
Hosea 5:2,4

Our protagonist hides his wretchedness deep in the undergroundfor some time.  I think he hides it from himself as well.  He is perpetually self-deluded into thinking that his actions don't really carry any mortal consequences.  On account of the delusion, the ride he careens through is depicted as humorous and an all-around blast (the happy type).  Perhaps thankfully, the story does seemingly pivot eventually in tone and takes us away from the sheer lust of the game.

In the house of Israel I have seen a horrible thing...
Hosea 6:9

Yuri, aka Gomer, is given a scenario.  His arch-nemesis in gun sales, a character portrayed by the honorable Ian Holm, has been taken captive by Yuri's best customer.  This enemy planted a car bomb that murdered Yuri's uncle.  Yuri is given a powerful privilege.  He can choose to slay or spare this adversary.  Yuri has a rule about never using his own merchandise.  He never wanted to directly to cause a death by his own hands.  But he has a soul of ever diminishing volume.  He kills.

...The prophet is a fool,
The inspired man is demented,
Because of the grossness of your iniquity,
And because your hostility is so great.
Hosea 9:7

Yuri's boundaries were always imaginary.  Once upon a time he wore a tight mask that whispered in his ear that he was a man beyond morality.  Now, having caused death to emerge, his inner truth cannot hide.  At his core, Yuri never learned to care about anyone.  The aim of the bow only protects the archer.  The film's denouement, the implication of Yuri in his brother's death, shouldn't surprise any of us.  Yuri is evil.  He is the harlot.  He is Gomer.

...You have eaten the fruit of lies.
Because you have trusted in your way, 
in your numerous warriors.
Hosea 10:13

"Lord of War" is book-ended by a soliloquy by Yuri.  He tells us that there exist over 500 million guns.  That's one gun for every twelfth person. He tells us that his job is to figure out ways to arm the other eleven.  He makes no excuses for his profession.  There is no apology.  He does however, point us to America, and four other large nations that traffic exponentially more weapons than Yuri does.

The book of Hosea is book-ended as well.  It ends:

Whoever is wise, let him understand these things;
Whoever is discerning, let him know them.
For the ways of the LORD are right,
And the righteous will walk in them,
But transgressors will stumble in them.
Hosea 14:9