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Overall Rating

Awesome: 29.07%
Worth A Look: 29.07%
Pretty Bad: 1.16%
Total Crap: 5.81%

7 reviews, 44 user ratings

Blood Diamond
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by Collin Souter

"Iím important and I take place in a desertÖnow nominate me!"
3 stars

The Important Desert Movie has become a new genre. Around this time every year, we get a barrage of Important political thrillers meant to stir our consciousness and raise Important issues. Most of them, at one point or another, take place in Africa or the Middle East. You can count on a few shots of jeeps careening down a valley with soldiers in the backseat hoisting their uzis. Thereís usually a white person or two trying to help the sick, the poor or other refugee types. The white people can either be do-gooders or evil-doers with one monologue about why their brand of evil is the right thing to do. It will always end with a coda about how Ēthese things still go on today.Ē Some examples would be: The Constant Gardener, Hotel Rwanda, Catch A Fire, Syriana, Babel and now Blood Diamond.

Donít get me wrong. I donít consider these bad movies. I just see a lot of them at this time of year and going into them I tend to feel as though I have an obligation to at least be respectful toward them for having the courage to tell a story that probably needs to be told. Iíll just never want to own the damn thing on DVD. One viewing of these films will suffice for an entire lifetime. You watch them to feel enlightened by the world you thank your lucky stars you donít have to live in. Iím sure the actors feel the same way when they make it, that is before they head back to Hollywood to make a bubbly romantic comedyÖbut Iím not cynical or anything.

Blood Diamond is a mostly decent Important Desert Movie. The Desert in question: Sierra Leone. The Important Topic: Diamond trade. The White People Who Will Put Things Right: A diamond smuggler named Danny Archer (Leonardo DiCaprio) and a journalist named Maddy Bowen (Jennifer Connelly). The Local Who Knows More Than They Do: Solomon Vandy (Djimon Hounsou), whose family gets torn apart by a rebellion who have their own diamond trade going on and who have torn apart many villages and families to keep it going.

Solomon gets taken prisoner to mine for diamonds. He finds a true gem and conceals it. Knowing he could get shot with no questions asked for doing such a thing, he nevertheless manages to bury it in the sand. Later, Solomon gets mistaken for a rebel and put in prison, where he meets Danny, the smuggler. Danny hears of this alleged diamond Solomon has hidden and presses him for more information. Such a diamond can get them both out of this Godforsaken country once and for all. But Solomon only wants to find his family. Danny offers to help Solomon get to his family if they split the money they make from the diamond 50/50. Solomon reluctantly agrees.

Getting mixed up in the middle of this is Maddy, the reporter, who has been in Sierra Leone doing a story on American diamond retailer Van De Kaap. She wants to do an expose on the death toll that accompanies diamond trade, but lacks the cold hard facts. Guess who possesses such facts? You guessed it. The white guy. Anyway, the three of them go on a journey to try and find Solomonís family, retrieve the diamond and uncover more of the story, while running into gunfire, various debates over personal values and the occasional declaration of ďIím in charge now!Ē

Most of Blood Diamond works, but the overall length of the movie does it a disservice. The drama does not justify the 150 minute running time (although it has become a rule of the genre that the film must be at least two hours or more, or else it loses street cred). The movieís message could have been more potent if the drama didnít feel so clunky. The story Maddy tries to break could have had more urgency if it didnít feel like an afterthought in the third act. Director Edward Zwick (Glory, The Last Samurai) still knows how to put together a tight action sequence, but his movies seem to get longer, more deliberately paced and dramatically disjointed every time.

DiCaprio continues his streak of excellent performances, even if his accent tends to do some globetrotting. He proves himself a good, rugged leading man type whom youíre not sure you can fully trust. Connelly fares almost as well. Unfortunately, her performance goes over the top when she gives a monologue about how she wants to do more for these people than write articles about them. Itís a noble speech, but she canít quite pull it off without being overly melodramatic. Hounsou continues to be a strong presence in whatever film heís in and his third of the story turns out to be the most interesting.

But never mind, because most Important Desert Movies get told from the white spectatorís point of view anyway. These movies strive for one thing: Nobility. Blood Diamond has nobility and Iím sure it will arouse peopleís anger and curiosity when they learn about everything that goes into getting a diamond from a third world country to these United States. Itís a story that needs to be told and Iím glad itís out there. I just wish it had been constructed in a way where I could walk out feeling more than, ďDamn, that sucksÖbut at least itís Important.Ē

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originally posted: 12/08/06 16:30:44
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User Comments

8/27/13 Lozz <3 Fantastic, loved it!!! 5 stars
1/31/11 cambellar a movie worth watching..and touchy 5 stars
6/10/09 matt slightly numbing, but well made with a great script. 4 stars
10/03/08 R.W. Welch Realistic and well acted. Has an authentic air to it. 4 stars
9/04/08 Rachel A thought provoking action film. Underrated. 4 stars
6/18/08 mr.mike Not bad , despite unconvincing moments and some overly Bondian action scenes. 4 stars
4/02/08 dii this movie makes me crying when I watch it in second time caused Archer's sacrifice. 3 stars
3/22/08 Matt the best movie, effectively portrayed the conflict in africa, intense and captivating 5 stars
1/24/08 Double M Too much hollywood to be really powerful. Leo & Djimon barely elevate it to "Worth A Look". 4 stars
10/17/07 Beau Its Worth a look, great photography and acting! leo is great 4 stars
10/08/07 widhi wwardhana grat movie and great acting of Leo and Djimon. 5 stars
9/11/07 Grayfoxx Awesome movie. Definitely worth watching. 5 stars
7/17/07 Matt Leo's awful accent aside, this is thought provoking especially for those of us in Africa. 3 stars
7/03/07 Ingrid This was a very bad movie 1 stars
7/02/07 Grefg Blood crap....bad acting, lame dialog, shitty screenplay, buggy script 1 stars
6/24/07 dt ok, if a bit predictable 3 stars
6/21/07 Rayven omg leo was incredible as he was in departed, an important film 5 stars
6/15/07 Nikita This film really opened my eyes up to the life and torture in Sierra Leone. 5 stars
6/05/07 Dicapri God A quality piece of filmmaking, LD cracking as usual 4 stars
5/01/07 Lynn Great movie - However, Dicaprio's Aussie accent really sucks 4 stars
4/28/07 Indrid Cold Doesn't really make any mistakes, but ends up not making much of an impact. 4 stars
4/22/07 Monday Morning LDiC gets better with every film he does. Excellent movie ths, too. 5 stars
4/16/07 Matt Awesome. Great acting. THe best movie I've seen in a while 5 stars
4/03/07 fools&#9835;gold The ending is a big wet dream (I'm not sure if that's a complement or not). 4 stars
4/02/07 ad great acting, nice story 5 stars
3/27/07 james floyd one of best movies I've seen in a long time 5 stars
3/21/07 action movie fan good gun battles, but too long,ponderous and hard to follow 3 stars
3/16/07 Donny M More boring than a drive to grandmas 1 stars
2/19/07 Luji Excellent movie, Leo more convincing than ever before... turned me off diamonds for sure! 5 stars
2/07/07 arjee labajo its a good movie.., its interesting movie 5 stars
1/31/07 MP Bartley Hectoring, but powerful. DiCaprio is slick with the accent, but Hounsou is tremendous. 4 stars
1/27/07 Greats story, great acting 5 stars
1/15/07 plim thought-provoking 5 stars
1/14/07 lee this is the most brilliant acting/screenplay/purpose to any movie I have ever seen. Period. 5 stars
1/04/07 Luisa Definitely worth seeing, Djimon is a great actor 4 stars
1/03/07 Jess Must-See FIlm! I will never buy a diamond again. 5 stars
12/27/06 Bert Kaplan Bloody, yes. A diamond, not even close. 2 stars
12/22/06 Quigley Not as entertaining as made out to be; Dicaprio excellent but he said "huh?" like 500 times 3 stars
12/17/06 qdog one of the best movies of the year 5 stars
12/12/06 The Harkman An eye opener. I appareciated it. 5 stars
12/12/06 Tiffany hmm Leo was cute. And he had a cool voice. movie was ok. 4 stars
12/11/06 Wendy Straw worth seeing 3 stars
12/09/06 SeanS One of the year's worst. The screenplay is simply appalling. 1 stars
12/08/06 Annadamma Painfully obvious beyond reason- of course this stuff happening is awful... DUH. 1 stars
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  08-Dec-2006 (R)
  DVD: 20-Mar-2007



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