Blood Diamond

Movie Review by EDF

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Connelly, Djimon Hounsou, Jimi Mistry
Director: Edward Zwick

In a world where consumerism is at an all time high, information of where our products come from is also gaining interest. BLOOD DIAMOND explores where some of the world’s diamonds come from. Some of these diamonds that are used to express expressions of love between two people are cultivated in surroundings where civil war, death and the destruction of families and a country are a common occurrence.

Sierra Leone in the late 1990’s is in the middle of a civil war. To fund their cause, the rebels attack small villages, kill the women and young children and take the rest as prisoners. Those men that are fit to work are sent off to the diamond fields and rivers while the rest of the children are recruited, brainwashed and trained by the rebels to continue with their cause. One such villager Solomon Vandy (Djimon Hounsou) and his son Dia (Kagiso Kuypers) are captured but his wife and daughter escape. Out in the fields, Solomon finds a priceless diamond and manages to safely bury it in time just as the government forces come to raid the site.

Danny Archer (Leonardo DiCaprio), a South African ex-soldier and smuggler finds out about the diamond and strikes up a deal with Solomon who will hand over the diamond to Danny once his family are together and safe. Danny comes across American reporter Maddy Bowen (Jennifer Connelly), who is looking for the background story that will finger the blame on the corporate men who are indirectly involved with the illegal diamond trade. Maddy agrees to help Solomon to get his family back only if Danny provides her with the information she needs to complete her story about the illegal diamond trade.

We follow how the rebels brainwash young captives like Dia. Through a barrage of propaganda, merciless killings and heroin addictions, these young children become the next generation of killing machines for the rebel cause. Meanwhile, Solomon finds his wife and daughter at a refugee camp but they are not allowed to leave in case they are part of the rebellion. Danny asks Maddy for her help but they realise that finding the diamond is the only way to reunite Solomon’s family. Will Solomon ever find his son and will Danny double cross him for the diamond?

Even though this is a dramatisation based around the events in Sierra Leone, the director thankfully does not hold back on the shocks. The violence between the two warring fractions and how the rebels treat innocents and captives is brutal. Some might object to the level of violence on screen and the preachy message that diamonds from this country are contributing to a nation’s misery. For the most part, this will pass you by as the movie is telling a story that is really about human survival and a man’s attempt to regain his family. DiCaprio just about nails a convincing South African accent and Hounsou’s emotional performance should at least gain this movie a few award nominations.

5 out of 6 stars

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