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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 brianorndorf

"It had me until the romantic subplot. And then I wanted to kill it."
3 stars

Joining the growing list of films with fantastic intentions but mediocre results, comes “Blood Diamond.” The subject of the diamond industry is a ripe one for exploration, and Edward Zwick’s picture gets about halfway there with some brutal footage of the diamond trade at work. However, this is Hollywood, and with Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Connelly starring, drama is sure to be pushed aside to satisfy actor egos.

Recently there’s been a rash of motion pictures that try to, in some minute way, change the world. In theory, this is wonderful news; cinema has returned to the socially conscious realm of the 1960s and 70s. “Blood Diamond” is the latest political hot potato to leap into theaters, and like many of the recent attempts at polemic cinema, it’s not the message that fails, but how the forceful the filmmakers’ serve that message up.

Solomon (Djimon Hounsou) is a peaceful African fisherman father looking to keep his family from the dangers of civil war. When vicious rebels kidnap him and strip his family away, Solomon is sent to the hard labor of the diamond fields. There he finds a perfect gem, and hides it in the dirt for safe keeping. Danny Archer (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a smuggler from Zimbabwe who hears about Solomon’s unique discovery in jail. With promises to help find Solomon’s family, Danny convinces the determined man to lead him to the stone, dragging in an American journalist, Maddy (Jennifer Connelly), to help grease the wheels.

It’s difficult to spot exactly what kind of story “Blood Diamond” wants to tell. It seems first and foremost the picture is a muckraking indictment of the diamond industry. The picture emphases the death, destruction, and exploitation that has occurred in Sierra Leone since the rise of the diamond; driven entirely by jewelry corporations and unabashed greed. Writer Charles Leavitt juxtaposes the cool efficiency of the diamond merchants with the brutal conditions in Africa, sure to make some out there rethink their need for a wedding day finger rock.

While taking on this billion-dollar business of jewels, “Blood Diamond” could be subtle and horrifying, or it could hand-hold and preach. The picture elects the latter approach, pushing its agenda down the throats of the audience to a point where, like Richard Linklater’s “Fast Food Nation,” the characters stop just short of speaking directly to the camera and scolding the audience. It doesn’t matter what significant questions “Diamond” manages to raise, this type of soapbox attitude deflates the intended effect quickly.

Director Edward Zwick tries to keep the film from sinking into a lecture with forceful, abrupt moments of violence. The depiction of African civil war and the training of child soldiers are vivid sequences of chaos and hopelessness, setting an incredibly turbulent tone for the movie. Zwick keeps the violence alert throughout the film, barging in on Danny’s lust for the diamond from all sides, and keeping Solomon in a state of internal panic as he fears the worst about his missing family. These worries are realized to excellence in DiCaprio and Hounsou’s intensely sweaty, enraged performances.

A bit longish at 140 minutes, “Diamond” putters to a conclusion, making one mistake after another itemizing Danny’s emotional salvation. It was already a blunder to insinuate a romantic relationship between Danny and Maddy (it serves no purpose other than to put two beautiful actors together), but the final moments of “Blood Diamond” tend to push Danny toward an unreasonable level of sainthood. It doesn’t suit the character or the movie, and it takes the focus off the booming nightmare of diamond production in Africa to give DiCaprio his Oscar-fishing moment.

Of course, there were a million other ways Zwick and the production could’ve played the last act to more satisfactory results, but they went the obvious route. Trouble is, the whole film follows this lead as well.

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originally posted: 12/08/06 18:20:57
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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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