BLOOD DIAMOND: RAW, EMOTIONAL FILM
STEPHANIE M. WILSON
Edward Zwick’s (The Last Samurai) Blood Diamond is a brutal and honest film about conflict diamonds. There are outstanding performances from Leonardo DiCaprio and Djimon Hounsou. It opens your eyes to the plight of South Africa other than the AIDS epidemic. It is hard to watch at times. And even though it does get a little Hollywood towards the end, it is worth watching.
Solomon Vandy (Djimon Hounsou) is a fisherman who wants his son Dia (Kagiso Kuypers) to become a doctor. When rebels destroy their village, Solomon is taken hostage and forced to work in the mines. Dia is taken by the rebels and made a soldier. While mining, Solomon finds a large pink diamond. He buries it near the mines to keep from the rebels. Danny Archer (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a smuggler (guns, diamonds) who finds out about Solomon’s diamond and bargains with him to help him get his son back. Maddy Bowen (Jennifer Connelly) is a journalist who is tired of writing about victims and wants hard facts regarding diamond smuggling and their connection to large diamond companies such as Van De Kamp. The three of them come together through their own agendas in the middle of this civil war in Sierra Leone in 1999.
The story starts us off right in the middle of the violence and poverty that is South Africa. Solomon’s devotion to his family and hope for his son is established. It is a story of one man but you see its effects on an entire population. Hounsou is at his best, trying to save his son and keep his family together. His face alone shows how he will stop at nothing to rescue his son from the rebels. DiCaprio transforms himself as an African that just wants off the continent. His character is driven by his own selfish needs but it is to DiCaprio’s credit that you still find yourself rooting for him. Connelly’s character is not as real. She uses her sexuality to get what she wants from Danny. It is hard to take her seriously. Visually, the movie overwhelms you. Images of children being trained as soldiers, the rebels shooting them up with drugs, and these kids shooting other children all show you the seriousness of this civil war. Villages are constantly being overrun by the rebels with a constant barrage of violence. The film provokes you to find out what is being done to stop this. There is a saying the film-“TIA”-This is Africa. It shows you how helpless the natives feel regarding the current state of their home. It is a very emotional film that will make you angry and cry.
As good as the film is, the ending tends to be a bit of a copout. It is wrapped up too neatly. It is a feel good moment in a movie that consistently throws sad and brutal images at you. It leaves you with an off balance feeling.
Blood Diamond is a hard to watch film about the diamond conflict in Sierra Leone. It is hard to watch because of the reality of the situation. Visuals and excellent acting from Leonard DiCaprio and Djimon Hounsou make this film more about the effects on the people of Africa and not just a political statement.