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Blood Diamond April 6, 2007

Posted by Sai in English, Movies, Reviews.

Diamonds mined in war zones were illegally smuggled and sold and this money was used to fund these wars. These diamonds are known as blood diamonds or conflict diamonds. Such a situation was rampant in Sierra Leone in the nineties while the UN tried its best to do away with such illicit trade (source: Wikipedia).

Set against this backdrop is the story of Danny Archer and Solomon Vandy. Vandy, a fisherman, is separated from his family and is forced to work in diamond fields. He finds and hides a large pink diamond before he is arrested and put in jail. Fortuitously, for Danny (who is looking for one last diamond to smuggle before he can escape the continent), he gets to know this secret while he is also in jail. Solomon agrees to give the diamond to Danny if he helps him locate his family. Journalist Maddy Bowen, in search for the real story about the smuggling of blood diamonds helps them in their endeavor. Will they succeed In their adventure through dangerous lands to retrieve the diamond? Will Solomon be reunited with his family? Will Maddy get her story?

The performances are a major source strength for this film. Both Leonardo DiCaprio and Djimon Hounsou (Amistad, Gladiator, In America) are splendid in their Oscar nominated performances (though I believe Leo’s un-nominated performance in The Departed is superior). They are ably supported by Jennifer Connelly (Requiem for a Dream, A Beautiful Mind).

Though this film has got some critical acclaim, it is not without its share of flaws. The writing (Charles Leavitt) could have been much better by avoiding a lot of the fomulaic turns that reminded me of many films. The script tries to blend commercial elements while also tackling the real issues involving the smuggling of blood diamonds and I would say that the amalgamation succeeds to a certain extent only. The film is also longer than it needs to be. Director Edward Zwick (The Last Samurai, The Siege) does well but is letdown to an extent by the script. In my opinion, this film isn’t as intelligent or important as it seems to be.

The film does really well in creating a discomfort in the mind of the audience about the state of affairs through its gritty depiction of violence, especially the scenes involving children. These sequences create an impact by themselves but they don’t assist in increasing the overall effectiveness of the film.

Despite the flaws, this is an effective commercial thriller with an important issue at its core. If you are looking for entertainment that isn’t completely mindless, this film is for you. However, if you really want to a captivating depiction of this issue (the kind that you’ve seen in films like The Constant Gardener or Syriana), this isn’t the film you are looking for.



1. Holden Caulfield - June 29, 2008

I believe DiCaprio is the greatest actor right now in Hollywood. It really blows my mind how great his career is being so young and making films like the basketball diaries and eating gibert grape. And then becoming world famous in Titanic. And then now he’s the next Robert Deniro working so much with Scorsese. I really think DiCaprio is our generations Marlon Brando, James Dean, Robert Deniro, Al Pacino.

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