4.3 out of 5 stars
“Blood Diamond” crystallizes itself as a stirring and powerful story with twists and turns from the modern issues of terrorism, political upheaval, and armed conflict. With its fast-paced, kinetic energy and first-rate performances, this part treasure hunt, part geopolitical thriller is crafted with a commendable type of orchestrated chaos.
Set against the backdrop of civil war in 1990’s Sierra Leone, “Blood Diamond” takes its title from jewels sold to fund murder and mayhem in conflict zones. This mind-provoking and heart-pumping film further proves how writer-director Edward Zwick keeps up with his attachment to films with grappling themes relating to history, social problems, and politics. Trying to consistently make socially conscious movies, his works don’t merely toil in action theatrics. Instead, he mainly explores the interstices of war and honor and adds passion and social conscience to themes that could possibly fall into a one-dimensional piece of patchwork.
“Blood Diamond’s” stimulating action and characterization dramatize the greed and corruption in the African diamond trade — clearly presenting the underlying heartbreaking human misery experienced by the innocent civilians amidst the works of the rebels, the smugglers, and those in power. The brutality of the “conflict diamond” trade opens the audience’s eyes to the bloody brutality of civil war, corporate malfeasance, and the training of child soldiers. A number of issues pointed out in the film are extremely disturbing. There are haunting images of the rebels brainwashing little boys and introducing them to rage-wielding machine guns and drugs. In one scene, you can even see an evil man injecting heroine into a ten-year old boy’s body.
“Blood Diamond” works on many levels and maintains a certain kind of intensity to stir the soul, and perhaps, inspire activism. It is artistically crafted according to the needs of its mainstream entertainment form. Despite its over-reliance on contrived plot points, it still works well in a complex, riveting, and disturbing way that further grabs the audience’s attention, while the story progresses towards its goal. It becomes a film that can probably make you think deep the next time you are in the market for an engagement or wedding ring.
Despite the film’s minor technical and thematic flaws, this tension-packed movie is an excellently shot and edited adventure with commanding performances to blow you away.
“Blood Diamond” mainly works because of the stunningly masterful performance from Leonardo DiCaprio. He exudes that forceful maturity on screen. While he doesn’t always get the accent right, you forget about the flaws in accent when you get wrapped around the intensity of his character. He draws enough soul to his role as Danny Archer, a white South African mercenary/smuggler.
DiCaprio is building a sweeping mark in his generation as a respectable artist — proving that he is one of his generation’s best actors. From his impressive works as a wunderkind way back his younger years to the lull he has gotten after graduating from being a teenage superstar, his now matured looks and talent already fuel his once again soaring career, this time as an adult actor.
Convincingly, the greatest treasure of this masterful drama is its solid casting. More than the moral payoff, what keeps you watching is the top level of performances, especially between the two male leads DiCaprio and Djimon Hounsou. DiCaprio’s ruthless tough guy stance and Hounsou’s paternal ferocity provide solid characterizations.
Hounsou as Solomon Vandy, a Mende fisherman taken from his family and forced to work in the diamond fields soon discovers a rare pink diamond, which then becomes the turning point of the story. Vandy becomes a sympathetic character who bumps into the persistent Archer, and the two men embark on a trek towards the rebel territory to recover the rare pink stone that can transform their lives. Each one has a personal goal to fight for: Vandy to save his family; Archer to grab the second chance he never had in order to start life anew.
Kagiso Kuypers as the good son turned into a child RUF rebel Dia Vandy delivers a commanding performance as well. Jennifer Connelly as the idealistic American journalist Maddy Bowen provides that needed fiery intelligence and integrity for her role.
“Blood Diamond” bitterly exposes morality in between an abyss of greed and corruption and provides some fairly compelling personal stories to give it more dramatic weight. It is ostensibly about the murder, mutilation, forced labor, kidnapping, tainted motives, and all the rest of Africa’s enduring sorrow — in the midst of the priceless diamonds paying the price of losing innocent lives. A serious film that keeps the viewers on their seats for almost two and a half hours, it then sends them out of the door with significant things to ponder on.
“Blood Diamond” is a true gem to fuel the call about this kind of real world exposé.
Shortlist of Las Vegas stores where you can find Blu-rays and DVDs:
4065 S. Maryland Pkwy. Las Vegas, NV 89119
700 E. Naples Dr. Ste. 102 Las Vegas, NV 89119
6016 W. Tropicana Ave. Ste. 2, Las Vegas, NV 89103
4043 S. Maryland Pkwy. Las Vegas, NV 89119
6160 W. Tropicana Ave. Ste. E2 Las Vegas, NV 89103