Directed by: Edward Zwick
: Charles Leavitt, Charles Leavitt
Starring by: Leonardo DiCaprio, Djimon Hounsou, Jennifer Connelly
Genres: Adventure, Drama, Thriller
Language: TeluguSet against the backdrop of civil war and chaos in 1990’s Sierra Leone, Blood Diamond is the story of Danny Archer – an ex mercenary from Zimbabwe – and Solomon Vandy – a Mende fisherman. Both men are African, but their histories as different as any can be, until their fates become joined in a common quest to recover a rare pink diamond that can 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 Maddy Bowen, an American journalist whose idealism is tempered by a deepening connection with Archer, the two men embark on a trek through rebel territory, a journey that could save Solomon’s family and give Archer the second chance he thought he would never have.
A story following Archer, a man tortured by his roots. With a strong survival instinct, he has made himself a key player in the business of conflict diamonds. Political unrest is rampant in Sierra Leone as people fight tooth for tooth. Upon meeting Solomon, and the beautiful Maddy, Archer's life changes forever as he is given a chance to make peace with the war around him.
Reviewed byA_RoodeVote: 9/10
Since there is very little in the negative column, let me disperse with it first: 'Blood Diamond' might fairly be accused of 'bleeding heart syndrome' (more on that in a bit), has a few minor pacing issues and seems unsure with how to end. The ending that they chose extends the film too far, seems forced and is tacked on. The more natural ending is on the mountainside -- you'll know what I mean when you see it. Those things said, the positives are much greater and this film showcased two towering performances. Djimon Hounsou is nothing short of incredible and I'd be astonished if he isn't considered at Oscar time. Secondly, although I've had little patience for him before, Leonardo DiCaprio has really impressed me this year. With his performances in 'The Departed' and now 'Blood Diamond,' I think I need to reappraise my own biases against him. I'm becoming a fan.
Some of the early reviews that I read painted 'Blood Diamond' as hysterical left-winger cause-head paradise. They suggest that the conflict diamond situation has been exaggerated and completely distorted. I don't know if that is the case. The film makes a compelling case but I don't base my political and economic decisions on films that I watch. My interest here was to see how characters would respond to adversity and a terrible, horrifyingly dark situation. The political agenda of the film isn't as cloyingly bombastic as I was afraid it might be. This is a film that, while concerned with the political situation in Africa, focuses more on how the obsessive search for a large, rare pink diamond consumes those who get too close to it.
DiCaprio is excellent as a Rhodesian (HIS description) mercenary and arms dealer working in Sierra Leone. Hounsou is a fisherman who gets drawn into the civil war raging around him and discovers a pink diamond that could save -- or destroy -- both he and his family. Jennifer Connelly plays a journalist trying to discover if a huge multi-national diamond company is knowingly in the market for conflict diamonds. Jennifer Connelly seems to get the worst of the dialogue. When told that Americans are in part to blame for conflict diamonds she responds with a line about 'not all girls want a fantasy wedding.' It makes her look naive at best and silly at worst. She generally manages to save the character from either of those fates though and also manages to avoid self-righteousness when dealing with some of the films more morally flexible characters. Hounsou is great and the desperation in his character as he tries to find his family crackles on the screen. He is cagey and understands what he needs to do to survive. His character is not above playing servile if that will keep him alive. And when provoked to violence, the result was absolutely chilling. In much smaller roles are Arnold Vosloo as a mercenary Colonel, Stephen Collins as a diplomat and Michael Sheen as an executive at a diamond company. Excellent performances all around.
Is 'Blood Diamond' judgemental? I think that is the wrong question. The film is a character study both of all the men pursuing the pink diamond and what effect it has on them, but it is also a character study of Africa. Tragic and heartsick, 'Blood Diamond' is drenched with cynicism and defeatism. Why is there misery and exploitation? "TIA," explains DiCaprio to Connelly, "This Is Africa." In contrast to a film like 'Traffic,' 'Blood Diamond' doesn't wallow in hopelessness. Some of the characters might be cynical but the film itself does search for hope. The heart of the picture is the human cost. Characters see the wealth of the diamond and are destroyed by it. The film shares a great deal thematically with a film like 'Treasure of the Sierra Madre.' High praise for a high quality film.
Reviewed byNazi_Fighter_DavidVote: 8/10
"Blood Diamond" is the kind of action film that makes you think that 'a moment of love, even in a bad man, can give meaning to a life...'
The film opens in Sierra Leone, 1999 when Civil war rages for control of the diamond fields?According to devastating reports, these stones are being used with both rebels and government forces to purchase more weapons and finance civil war?
Danny Archer?crazy for diamonds like everybody else?believes this pink gem holds his ticket out of this godforsaken continent? He is a smuggler, a former mercenary and weapons trader from Zimbabwe who bribes all, and supplies arms to both sides? He gets Solomon Vandy?captured by government troops?out of jail only because he overhears that the fisherman might have found a clear massive stone about the size of a bird's egg?
Vandy?forced apart from his family and sent off to work as a slave in the minefields?has hided the enormous 100 carat diamond from his captors and buried it in a secret place within the jungle? His son Dia is taking away by a brainwashing militia called the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) turning him with lies, drugs, and liquor, into a cold-blooded murderer?
Danny makes a deal to help the noble fisherman find his family if Vandy will lead him to the diamond? The majority of the story is their journey across the war torn country?
Leonard DiCaprio is both ruthless and charming as the cynical soldier of fortune who knows an opportunity when it presents itself? But he also is aggressive and selfish willing to do whatever it takes to get what he wants? He illustrates the black side of the dirty diamond trade? On his trek to find the stone, Archer's eyes are opened to some enduring values that surpass his own self-profit?
Djimon Hounsou eventually realizes that Danny's connections and money are his only hope? He plays a helpless character totally passionate as the resolving and fiercely determined father desperate to learn the fate of his family?
Connelly is an idealist who wishes to display corruption? She thinks that with Archer's help she can get a unique story line surrounding the civil war but also revealing corporate malfeasance and cover-up behind the diamond trade?
It is also good to mention Arnold Vosloo in the role of Colonel Coetzee, head of the army unit also trying to claim the diamond? He's a great character actor and remains a powerful presence and one of the screen's most efficient scene-stealer?
Nominated for five Oscars, "Blood Diamond" is an action, political adventure at its best!
Reviewed byMargie24Vote: 8/10
Leonardo DiCaprio has become one of the premiere American actors. With a set of natural instincts that lends a non-showy, believable quality to all of his performances, versatility, and movie star size charisma that fills up the screen and emotionally hooks the viewer into his character and story, it is hard to think of another male American actor (with the exception of Johnny Depp) who is consistently giving an audience its money worth; these two gentleman have taken the reins from Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington, as those two Oscar-winning future legends of the silver screen gracefully age into more mature roles.
In Blood Diamond, it is Mr. DiCaprio's performance that raises this film above it's standard Hollywood fare of a script (although it is a solid script) into something memorable. His performance here as an opportunistic diamond smuggler equals that of the one he gave earlier in the fall as "Billy Costigan" in The Departed, although the two characters couldn't be more different from each other. It may be his best performance yet, and in terms of sheer charisma and memorability it certainly rivals his mega-star making performance as "Jack Dawson" in Titanic.
I liked Blood Diamond a great deal, but do not think it is a great film. A good movie? Yes. Very mainstream and formulaic, but it is raised up quite a bit by DiCaprio's character and his terrific realization of it. If I had read this script beforehand, I never would have thought of Leo for this role- possibly George Clooney or some other star known for "roguish charm," but not Leo. But now, having seen it, I can't imagine anybody else as "Danny Archer;" it is a fully realized, winning performance.
Mr. Hounsou was wonderful as well, and I liked the chemistry between the two men in their scenes together. He was able to make the audience feel the gamut of emotions his character experiences during the course of the movie- pride and hope, fear, outrage, resignation, mistrust, desperation, and determination, and beautifully rises above the somewhat limiting way his role was written.
I thought Ms. Connelly did as good a job as possible in her role as "the idealistic journalist who wants to make a difference." Her part was just a larger version of Joaquin Phoenix's in Hotel Rwanda. As always, I find she brings a certain dignity and intelligence to her performances and does not allow her incredible beauty to overshadow her acting. I thought she and Leo worked wonderfully together, as well, and along with Mr. Hounsou they make an engaging trio you can't help rooting for.
In comparing it to other recent films about Africa, I didn't think this was quite as good as as Hotel Rwanda, but better than The Interpreter, The Constant Gardener, and The Last King of Scotland. I felt an emotional engagement with the characters I didn't experience in the latter three films. I found the script allowed my care for the characters to grow as the story progressed, and was not overly manipulative. At times it veered too much into standard action movie territory, with much violence and many "close calls" but would then be brought back into the realm of compelling human drama by a wonderfully acted, intimate scene.
After reading some early negative comments, I was pleasantly surprised at my response to it. Compelling characters and the skillful use of a truly gripping global issue as the plot line make this a satisfying viewing experience- one that I would happily see again.