Blood Diamond — Movie Review

BLOOD DIAMOND

Blood Diamond, filmed against the backdrop of civil war, anarchy and chaos in Sierra Leone in the 1990s, portrays action drama amidst bloody political mayhem. The film, released in 2006, shows how a country, suffering miserably, torn by outside forces, internal strife and petty but universal hunger for wealth, survives. Mass slaughter of innocent civilians is palpably portrayed, as both, government and rebel forces gun down people indiscriminately. Young boys are indoctrinated using torture and drug use, and turned into toughened killers. Blood Diamond highlights greed and manipulation in international diamond market. Diamonds are procured by merchants with total disregard to murky means used. Diamonds, one of Sierra Leone’s largest exportable produce, are being smuggled out and bought in the open market regardless of a theoretical international ban on the purchase of alleged “conflict diamonds” or “blood diamonds.” This historical background is accurate, although the three main characters involved in events are fictional.

This intensely heartrending movie has Edward Zwick as its director, Charles Leavitt as screenplay writer and C. Gaby Mitchell, the story writer. The cast has: Leonardo Di Caprio, Djimon Hounsou and Jennifer Connelly giving spellbinding performances. Blood Diamond is the saga of Danny Archer, (Leonardo Di Caprio) – an ex mercenary, and Solomon Vandy, (Djimon Hounsou) – a fisherman from Sierra Leone. Both men are African, with totally different histories, until their kismets conjoin to recover a priceless rare pink diamond. Solomon lives peacefully on a farm with his family in Sierra Leone. He wants to educate his young son, Dia, to give him a better life when he grows up. One day, the rebels swoop down and kill or capture almost all the villagers. Solomon’s dreams are shattered as his family is snatched from him and he is sent to harvest diamonds. By sheer chance he finds a huge 100-karat pink diamond. Realizing its worth, he manages to initially hide then later bury it. Very soon, he is captured during a government raid and imprisoned where he meets South African “soldier of fortune” Danny Archer, who strikes a deal with Solomon and suggests exchanging the diamond by his missing family. Archer now takes help from American journalist Maddy Brown (Jennifer Connelly), whose claim for aid is breaking news expose from Archer about how “dirty” diamonds are legalized to appear clean to the international market, and make London diamond merchants experience its guilt. Maddy’s feelings, tempered with affection for Danny, they find the wife and daughters of Salomon in a refugee camp, but discover that his son has been enrolled by the rebels. Salomon and Danny strike a partnership, with Salomon looking for his son, and Danny hunting for the diamond and finding redemption and a way out from the country.

The stellar performance by Leonardo DiCaprio, enacting this “gritty” role appears totally different from one who set young female hearts aflutter a decade back in Titanic. His strong survival instincts, makes him a key player in the business of conflict diamonds. Solomon and the beautiful Maddy change Archer’s life forever as he tries to make peace with the war around him. Cynical by nature, his friendships with Maddy Bowen, and Solomon Vandy, make him humane. Unfortunately, Archer is shot dead while trying to escape in Sierra Leone when only 31. The daring American reporter, Maddy (Jennifer Connelly), naively believes her great exposé will show the West the injustice of the procurement methods of conflict diamonds. Initially, Archer keeps distance from her, but later relents. Finally he provides her the information about the nefarious activities of involved people, before dying valiantly. As the movie ends, Maddy is there encouraging Solomon as he testifies before Congress about the illegal smuggling of diamonds in Africa.

Solomon Vandy, portrayed by Djimon Hounsou is volcanic in this role. He’s determined in his focus: find his wife, two daughters, and son, Dia. His passion steers the movie ahead; Blood Diamond moves with urgency, owing to him. Blood Diamond is an amalgamation of appallingly harsh, haunting moments. A South African mercenary and a Mende fisherman, with fates entwined commence a journey to acquire a rare and highly coveted pink diamond revealing the horrible trail of terror and violence in an unforgettable, adventure drama.