Blood Diamond

Blood Diamond

(2007)

Set against the backdrop of civil war in 1990's Sierra Leone and the African diamond industry, 'Blood Diamond' follows Danny Archer (DiCaprio) - a South African mercenary - and Solomon Vandy (Hounsou) - a Mende fisherman. Together, both fellas are on the dangerous hunt for a rare pink diamond, the value of which could transform their lives. While in prison for smuggling, Archer learns that Solomon - who was taken from his family and forced to work in the diamond fields - has found and hidden the extraordinary rough stone. With the help of an American journalist (Connelly), they embark on a trek through rebel territory, a journey that could save Solomon's family. From 'Last Samurai' director, Edward Swick.

Flicks Review

'Blood Diamond' is a drama set in war-ravaged Sierra Leone in the mid-90s, about a mercenary diamond smuggler Danny Archer (Leonardo DiCaprio) who strikes a deal with a local man Solomon Vandy (Djimon Hounsou) who searches for his missing family. Their efforts to retrieve a rare pink diamond and find the family are fraught with peril as the country around them collapses into civil war.

DiCaprio does a great job at portraying the energetic hero with a roguish charm. I'd say Hounsou is actually more convincing, if only because of Leo's rather flimsy accent. But it's a good cast, and the characters all have energy and charisma.

One of the most satisfying aspects of Blood Diamond is that DiCaprio never kisses Jennifer Connolly. They come close, but their parting scene is impressive for its restraint. It's a shame they bring her back for a silly melodramatic coda in the final moments.

The whole film feels a bit like this – a number of great moments tossed in with generic action filler. Director Edward Zwick never seems to have anything particularly hip or interesting about the way he presents his films. Attempts at poignancy always feel signposted, and scenes that show horrific atrocities such as children learning how to murder are always so obvious in their intentions. Subtlety is not a strong suit of 'Blood Diamond'.

The action scenes come complete with large explosions, showers of shrapnel and a large body count. Unfortunately the impact of these scenes is considerably diminished by a 'sweeping' musical score laid over the top. It takes away the realism. What would have been good left as a cacophony of gunshots and screams of pain is blanded-up by a sentimental string-section of some Hollywood studio orchestra.

Speaking of which, it's amazing that in amongst all this 'realism' we've got Leonardo shooting his way out of tight-spots in true Star Wars style. At one stage he downs about five soldiers in one go. Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. Was the fifth soldier still searching for his trigger?

But let's not be mean; it's an impressively staged film with some great cinematic shots of the rolling African landscapes. It's got a good cast who we actually care about, and it's a good blending of a personal story with the bigger picture of exploitation in Africa.

But 'The Constant Gardener' did the 'poor Africa' thing better and more intelligently. 'Blood Diamond' is just too wide-reaching in its intentions, and loses a focus for all of that. [By Andy Hedley]

The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 6 ratings, 6 reviews
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Been to africa? Travelled to the third world ? spent time in a war zone and want an authentic drama this is it. Engrossing and riveting. Go see it


Wow

What a masterpiece. Pretty disturbing, being based on true events, but definitely informative. Leonardo has certainly grown into a fine actor. Definitely see this movie.


It's a fascinating topic, but I found the 'action' side of it boring and not really needed.


Awesome, the best film I've seen in AGES. Dramatic and full of action, brilliant performances, and an interesting insight into an ugly situation.


BY Brian1 superstar

The raw side of the diamond smuggling is shown perhaps for what it is. This is a movie where a hint of reality is merged with action overacting.
di Caprio does a good job as does Hounsou playing the part of family man subjected to the brute force of the revolutionary oppressors.
We should all see this if only to once again see the how of "why do we do this to ourselves".


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The Press Reviews

62% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • To the unlikely role of a Bogart-esque reluctant hero, Leonardo DiCaprio brings an intensity that compels even when the script falters... Full Review

  • An ambitious film that can be viewed as either half empty or half full, "Blood Diamond" attempts something difficult and problematic. It can be pulled apart or appreciated, depending on your mood, but it should be recognized that movies like this have become as rare and potentially valuable as the stone that sets its plot in motion... Full Review

  • Like the gem in question, it's just too big, too pretty and far too precious for its own good... Full Review

  • That Blood Diamond penetratingly, and sometimes punishingly, shows precisely how this is the case without ever turning into some kind of lecture is its triumph... Full Review

  • DiCaprio is terrific, but he can't save this lecture from the shame of using Africa as a vehicle for another white man's redemption... Full Review

  • It is brain-fryingly boring. Here we have a film with all the gravitas, humane purpose and epic length of a classic, but with a lukewarm, uninvolving and slow-moving story, and with characters whose every action is predictable from at least an hour off. Director Edward Zwick tried to make a great movie, but somewhere in the process he forgot to make a good one... Full Review

  • Essentially a romantic adventure story with politics in the background—an old-fashioned movie, I suppose, but exciting and stunningly well made... Full Review

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