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The Notorious Mr. Bout
Jul 5, 2014 @ 8:00 pm| $13
THE NOTORIOUS MR. BOUT (Tony Gerber, Maxim Pozdorovkin | 94 min.)
Viktor Bout: Ruthless businessman and arms trader; The Merchant of Death; a man desperately hunted by the DEA and UN Arms investigators alike; friend and supporter of genocidal Congolese leader Jean-Pierre Bemba; an elusive figure who could not be photographed; home video enthusiast. As a young entrepreneur in the newly capitalist Soviet Union, Bout saw opportunity where others saw only desperation. While his countrymen were fighting in the streets for necessities as simple as food, Bout began importing basic and luxury consumer goods from the other side of the recently-crumbled iron curtain.
Through Bout’s own lens we are gifted a first-hand glimpse of globalization and the inner-workings of a criminal enterprise. Viktor Bout was a man who willingly shipped televisions, medicine and guns alike in the holds of his planes. As capitalism found new markets, Bout followed, recording himself, his friends, his family, the jungle, the wind-swept desert, the hijab-covered women, the smiling village children, and the military leaders who murder their own people. A diligent documentarian with his beautiful and unflappable wife Alla at his side, Bout captures images both mundane and extraordinary.
Rarely has a documentary provided such intimate access into the life of a high-profile criminal. Though his life was the basis for the unironically titled Nicolas Cage vehicle Lord of War, directors Maxim Pozdorovkin and Tony Gerber show Viktor Bout to be shockingly human. In this comic and complicated portrait, the filmmakers explore the life of a man who is neither innocent, nor totally guilty, but undoubtedly notorious.