Movie Mind Says: Rent It
If You Like This You Should Watch: Traffic, Amistad
Better Than: Lord of War
Worse Than: Glory, Gangs of New York
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Dijmon Hounsou, Jennifer Connelly
Ladies and gentlemen, Blood Diamond is what we call a “message” film. Do not expect to watch this film and come out smiling, or happy, or excited, but do expect to feel some strong sense emotion, which in the end is what movies are all about anyway.
This film has a purpose from the outset, and while teetering on the line of being too political at times, it does a good job of honing in on the main characters and their struggle, as opposed to trying to make a stand and force a message down our throats. For those Movie Mind readers who are in the stage of proposing to their girlfriends, they may save themselves a few paychecks worth of savings to sit their honeys down and watch this. Of course since our better halves are always the wiser, they will just say that this is the reason you have to buy “certified” diamonds, which in the end may cost you guys more money. With that being said, The Movie Mind wants to retract his previous statement; the male readers should hide this film from their girlfriends!
What should be immediately recognized is the performance by Dijmon Hounsou, as Solomon Vandy. Wow is this guy good. I mean really good. Like, “come check out how good I look” kind of good. I know Alan Arkin won the Oscar for supporting actor for his role in Little Miss Sunshine, which I thought was a very entertaining film, but there is no way whatsoever he should have won it over Hounsou. If we don’t see a lot of this guy down the road it would shock me.
Hounsou’s plight to save his family in war-torn Sierra Leone is deep and we believe every minute of it. As the rebels wreak havoc in every town they go, Solomon fights to keep his wife and children safe, but he can only do so much. His son in taken into the rebel forces and trained (brainwashed) to become a fighter, shattering all the dreams Solomon had for him to become a doctor. When Solomon is also held captive by the rebels he stumbles upon a diamond that may either be his ticket to a new life and reuniting his family, or an ultimate death sentence.
In comes Leonardo DiCaprio, playing Danny Archer, a smuggler-for-hire whose only goal is to broker these taboo diamonds into the hands of people with the money to pay, but the reputation to hide where they actually came from. No one wants to actually get caught buying diamonds from these war-torn regions, but that’s where they have to go to find the best deals. And just like WalMart, it may mean selling your soul and partially funding a mass genocide of a population. Ok, maybe that’s a little harsh…these diamond buyers weren’t intentionally funding a mass genocide.
DiCaprio’s accent is putrid, something like a cross between some Aussie bloke and rapper from South Philly. Unfortunately it is so bad it gets in the way of his performance, which was otherwise pretty spot-on. He runs into a reporter (Jennifer Connelly) trying to expose the horrors of this “Blood Diamond Trade” and in typical movie fashion, it takes a female “interest” to make it believable that a bad dude could turn himself around and show he really has a good heart.
Let me just say that I was definitely moved by this picture. It was a vivid and gruesome depiction of what seems to have been the real situation of how it was during that time only about a decade ago. You certainly aren’t coming out of this movie feeling better about yourself, but you may also open your eyes to the fact that this type of atrocity really does happen. I know they needed Leo to put this movie onto the “blockbuster” stage, but it would have been just as powerful without him.
Danny Archer: In America, it’s bling bling. But out here it’s bling bang.
Danny Archer: That diamond is my ticket out of this God forsaken continent.
Maddy Bowen: Smuggler?
Danny Archer: How about ‘Soldier of Fortune’… or is that too much of a cliché?
Danny Archer: Sometimes I wonder… will God ever forgive us for what we’ve done to each other? Then I look around and I realize… God left this place a long time ago.
M’Ed: This my country, man. We here long ‘fore you came – long after you gone.
Danny Archer: So you’re a fisherman, ha? What do you catch mostly?
Solomon Vandy: Fish.
Danny Archer: You’re a reporter, eh? Well piss off!
Captain Poison: You think I’m a demon, but that’s only because I have lived in Hell.
Captain Poison: Young man, young man, listen to me. The gov’mint wants you to vote. They say “the future is in your hands.” We now the future. So we take your hands! No more hands, no more voting!