, Movie News Reviews and More!
Our Mission
Prize Trivia
The Golden Rules
Movie of the Month
Movie News
Movie Reviews
Submit a Review
Your Videos/Movies
Movies by Period/Category
Register & WIN!
blood diamond Blood Diamond
Directed by:
Edward Zwick
Cast: Leondardo DiCaperio, Djmon Hounsou, Jennifer Connelly, Kagiso Kuypers

Written by:
Ricardo Barberini

January 23, 2007

First it was slavery and then oil and now it is diamond has bedeviled Africa. But it is not always material wealth.  In 1994, hundreds of thousands of Tutsis in Rwanda were massacred by the Hutus because they were racially different and today, in Sudan, tens of thousands are being raped and killed by the Arab militia because they have a different religion.


There are three main characters in this adventure story.

First, Solomon is a simple fisherman living in peace with his family in Sierra Leone.  He has a wife, a son and two daughters.  He wants his son to become a doctor.  That is before violent rebels invade their village and father and son are captured.  The son is forced into becoming one of the tens of thousands of African children soldiers who can be more cruel and ruthless than the adult warriors.

Solomon’s wife and daughters get away and end up in a refugee camp while he is enslaved as a diamond miner for the rebels.  He finds a big 100-carat diamond (that is equal in weight to approximately 100 small paper clips) and manages to hide it before the rebel camp is attacked by government soldiers.  The government forces put him in jail with the rest of the rebels.  One of the rebel commanders finds out about the diamond and is determined to get it for himself.

Next there is the South African soldier of fortune (Danny Archer) played by Leonardo DiCaprio who also ends up in the same jail after being caught smuggling diamonds.  Here he finds out about the big diamond and sets about getting it for himself by first freeing Solomon and then following him around.

The third main character is Maddy Bowen (Jennifer Connelly) an idealistic American journalist in search of a major real story.

The three of them eventually come together and start the long trek to get to Kono where Solomon had hidden the diamond. 

On the way, government forces, the rebels and South African mercenaries led by Colonel Coetzee (Arnold Vosloo), who is also after the diamond try, to kill or capture them.

Eventually, they find the diamond and rescue Solomon’s child who has been so brainwashed by the rebels that he is willing to kill his own father.

Danny is shot and we assume he dies in the hills of Sierra Leon as he insists that Solomon and his son take his place on the escape plane out of the danger zone.  Eventually Solomon and his family, with the help of Maddy flee to London and help Maddy expose the diamond merchants who are buying Conflict diamonds from war torn lands.

Diamond is a relatively new gemstone.  It was mined in limited quantities in Asia and was not even introduced to Europe until the Middle Ages.  It is mined all over the world with the bulk coming from Africa.  The diamond cartel led by De Beers controls the supply of the gem and that is the key.  Unlike Emerald, the other very precious stone, it is not rare.  It has been said that if the supply was not controlled diamonds would be as cheap as glass.  The diamond industry has always had one of the most effective marketing techniques around.  They consistently have made people believe that diamond is something that you buy as an heirloom and pass on to successive generations.  Therefore, once people buy diamond jewelry, it is hardly ever sold.  The price is also very tightly controlled.  No one, except the major distributors knows the wholesale price of diamonds so unlike gold, platinum or Emerald, the wholesale price is not really known nor is the retail price directly related to the actual wholesale price.

The screenplay for this movie was written by Charles Leavitt and Gaby Mitchell and parallels the savagery and greed that has been happening in Africa for the last fifty years.  However, at two hours and twenty minutes it was a bit too long.  Even in its final form it could have been edited down by at least ten minutes or so without losing the gist of the story.  

The cinematography by Eduardo Serra was wonderful.  However, he had it relatively easy since most of the movie was shot outdoors.   Many people do not realize it but it is much easier to photograph or make movies in open spaces where you have vast vistas available.  You basically point your camera at the scenery and make sure that you have proper lighting available.  The result can often be the breathtaking shots that win prizes.  The real art of cinematography   is making movies inside constrained spaces such as bedrooms and office cubicles and making them seem realistic.

We found Leonardo DiCaprio as Danny Archer quite impressive.  He played the part of an irreverent, foul mouthed mercenary turned smuggler convincingly.  I wonder how long it took him to learn the accent.  Not an easy task. I know some purists have criticized his accent as not genuine enough.  The fact is that he could have been talking with a Korean accent as far as any viewer cared.  He had a foreign accent and he said he was from South Africa, so for most audiences that was enough.  Maybe some white people in South Africa may take an issue with his accent but the rest of the world does not care.  In any case, as people who have been to South Africa know; most descendents of the British do not have an Afrikaner accent and someone with a name of Danny Archer probably would be speaking with an English Accent. 

Jennifer Connelly was, as always delicious to look at plus the fact that she is a good actor.  She has such pretty eyes and the director (Edward Zwick) made sure that the camera focused on her eyes from the very first shot.  We were also impressed by Djimon Hounsou who played the role of a devoted husband and father who is bewildered by what has happened to his community and is aimlessly looking for his lost family until he is befriended by Danny   The rest of the supporting cast was well chosen, Kagiso Kuypers playing a brainwashed drugged out child soldier epitomizes the tens of thousands of his kind around the globe.  We were also gratified that the director shied away from overt horror movie style violence and sexually implicit scenes of rape and assault even though they are daily occurrences in many parts of that tortured continent, most notably Darfur, at this point in time.

We give this movie starstarstar.  There are no sexually explicit scenes in this movie, however use of drugs and acts of violence are depicted freely.  

Go see it and maybe you will learn something.

We would love to hear what you think! Agree? Disagree with this Moviebuff? Send your Review in TODAY!
Click here to send us your review
Or copy and paste into your email browser:
include your review in your email!