Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Blood Diamond review

Director Edward Zwick has a familiar formula in each of his films. He almost always tackles serious matters that will have many audiences members leaving the theatre questioning their purpose in life- or in the case of Blood Diamond- wishing they could "make a difference."

Many critics have slammed Zwick's latest for lecturing, rather than entertaining, on the conflict diamond trade in Sierra Leone in 1999. I lost a lot of respect for critics who provided this as a reason for not enjoying the film. This story- which many people know little about due to the presidential sex controversy engulfing the U.S. media at the same time- needed to be told, as it is still a growing matter for concern. I guess filmgoers who wish not to be reminded that outside of the multiplexes- bad things happen- might not like this film. And to that audience- I feel for you.

Blood Diamond is remarkable film- all intentions aside. The script unfolds wonderfully- dragging audiences- often times kicking and screaming- throughout Sierra Leone along side African farmer Solomon Vandy, (a white) south African diamond smuggler Danny Archer, and American journalist Maddy Bowen. Each actor in these main roles, Djimon Hounsou, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Jennifer Connelly make such extreme and unfamiliar situations to American audiences seem... understandable. Hounsou stands out several times and plays the role of his career and Jennifer Connelly could have played Pluto Nash with an Oscar caliber- but this is DiCaprio's gem and alongside The Departed- 2006 has established him as the actor of his generation. Arguably.

After losing his family to a rebel organization hellbent on over throwing the current government through any means necessary, Solomon Vandy finds himself mining the rivers of Sierra Leone for diamonds, and when he comes upon the most valuable found to date- it catches several peoples attention. Mainly, Danny Archer, a former military man seeking fortune to get him out of South Africa. Conflict ensues and the two ultimately end up side by side as Archer bribes Vandy into giding him to the hidden diamond in exchange for the safe return of his family. The central story proves to be powerful enough, but Zwick elegantly covers the entire country it seems and shows audiences 360 degrees of terror and violence the likes of which audiences have never confronted.

For these reasons Blood Diamond will probably not see great success... two weeks into it's release, it's considered a pretty big flop actually, and that is extremely disappointing. But if seven years after the conflict intially begin is the first time we see a wide exposure to the conflict- then I guess it's not a surprise.


Blogger The Movie Show said...

My problem with this film is that Zwick shot what is essentially a modern day nightmare as if it were a travelogue of Africa. As a director, he directs his cameras to fall in love with landscape rather than focus on the story at hand. The visual tone of scenes - especially the ones wherin children are duped into killing machines - betray the horrors of the story he is telling. I also thought Jen Connelly had some of the worst lines of her career in this film.

10:59 AM  

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