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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

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Blood Diamond
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by U.J. Lessing

"A Difficult Subject Superbly Realized"
5 stars

“Blood Diamond” is ambitious filmmaking. After all, how many movies out there are simultaneously an adventure film, message picture, tragedy, war documentary, and character study? Director, Edward Zwick manages to keep all of these subgenres together while avoiding clichés to create a devastating and exciting work more reminiscent of Oliver Stone’s “Salvador” than anything from the last 20 years.

It’s rare in a movie that its stars take a backseat to their location, but at the center of “Blood Diamond” is Sierra Leone. The movie takes us to the late 1990s when chaos and hatred enveloped that country. What makes this civil war especially devastating is that the violence has spread to the civilian population. Rebels don’t hesitate to slaughter villagers and turn children into soldiers. There is no front, no boundaries, no containment and no sign of peace in sight.

In the middle of this chaos is Solomon Vandy (Dijimon Hounsou) a Mende fisherman. When he is enslaved by rebels and forced to work in the diamond fields, Vandy discovers and hides an enormous diamond knowing it’s his only hope for a better life for his family and his son (who has been kidnapped and assimilated by the rebels.)

Desperate to reunite his family, Vandy teams up with Danny Archer (Leonardo DiCaprio) a mercenary and diamond smuggler. He’s in business with rebel forces and trades diamonds for the armaments that bring so much sorrow to Sierra Leone. Archer realizes that if he recovers the stone, the wealth would be enough to keep him out of Africa forever.

The pair embarks on an adventure to recover the diamond and rescue Vandy’s son. They receive aid from Maddy Bowen (Jennifer Connelly), a journalist attempting to expose the western diamond industry’s apathy and corruption as merchants pay hard currency for conflict diamonds.

Unlike most films that deal with atrocities, every character in “Blood Diamond” bears some of the responsibility for the devastation of Sierra Leone. Victims quickly turn into victimizers, and saints do not tend to live very long. Everyone, no matter where they land on the ethical spectrum, wants one thing: to get out of Sierra Leone.

The acting is extraordinary. Dijimon Hounsou’s scenes are all affecting, but particularly touching are his scenes with his son. He evokes a father’s unrelenting determination and love.

DiCaprio’s Archer is a smart blend of rogue and champion. His character evokes likeable scoundrels from the past like Errol Flynn and Douglas Fairbanks. I’ve read many articles (Esquire Magazine was certainly the loudest) critical of DiCaprio’s Zimbabwe accent, but his vocal characteristics are central to the character. Archer’s verbal mannerisms are designed to keep him emotionally distant from everything around him. DiCaprio’s strong characterization is solely responsible for the powerful conclusion.

Jennifer Connelly is also well used here. All of her characters have had a natural and paradoxical blend of strength and fragility, and Maddy Bowen is no exception. Her moments with Archer are particularly potent.

The real winners here are Director Edward Zwick and writer Charles Leavitt. Together, they weave a devastating story about a devastating time. There were so many ways this story could have dipped into melodrama or escapist adventure. Instead Zwick and Leavitt add the right amount of horror, character development and political activism to make “Blood Diamond” one of most important films to come along for a long time.

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originally posted: 01/14/07 10:03:36
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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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