Review Room

Book reviews and miscellanous thoughts

Blood Diamond

Written By: amodini - May• 09•07

Leonardo di Caprio gives me the hives. And not in a good way. Apparently I was the only one who didn’t L-O-V-E “Titanic”, and I am quite unable to see his “boyish” charm (or so I have been told). Although the charm still eludes me, I did like “Blood Diamond”, and Leo in it. He acts well, displays just the right amount of recklessness and vulnerability, so much so that poor, old, unmoving me really felt for his character.

Blood Diamond takes us through the blood and gore of diamond mining in Sierra Leone, where civil war rages, and the ordinary citizen is buffeted on one hand by mercenary rebels, and on the other by an almost uncaring government. It’s the story of street-smart orphan, Danny Archer (Caprio) who is part hired gun and part diamond smuggler, hedging his bets on the shiny stones he smuggles across countries. An opportunist, he comes across the opportunity of a life-time when he meets farmer Solomon Vandy (Djimon Hounsou) in jail, and learns that Vandy has discovered a large pink diamond, and has hidden it from the rebels. To Archer that diamond is salvation, his ticket out of the South African continent and freedom from a ragged, uncertain life. But to get at it, he must help Vandy re-unite with his family and also rescue his young son Dia (Caruso Kuypers) who’s been taken by the rebels. To this end, he seeks help from reporter Maddy Brown (Jennifer Connelly) who offers her assistance in return for details from Archer on the laundering of “conflict diamonds”. And thus Archer sets out with Vandy to track down the rebels and get Dia . . .

The film is fast-paced and keeps one engrossed. There’s lot’s happening; you can safely call this an action/adventure film in it’s own right. It’s also very gory and violent, and shows quite starkly the murder of innocents at the hands of young, indoctrinated kids, who’ve been captured by the rebels and brain-washed. Leaves one squirming.

The film is strongly scripted, and the characters well-defined. Leo’s character gets the most action, since it’s basically his story. Caprio has come a long way since his “Titanic” days, and has morphed gracefully from his chocolate-boy image to stronger, more complete roles, playing them with conviction and sincerity. At the beginning of the film Archer seems a cold-blooded, selfish cad, but gradually the story brings to the fore his more redeeming qualities to make him a hero you might not see eye to eye with, but who’m you’re cheering for nevertheless. The other main character in the film – that of farmer Vandy is also played handsomely by Hounsou. Jennifer Connelly’s role in the film is marginal, but she does a good job within the limited scope and the cliched delineation of the character.

Sanctimony and violence apart, this is the kind of film I like to watch. A good yarn, strong characters, convincing acting, and non-stop action mixed in with a hint of romance and the warm, fuzzy feeling that comes from watching characters rise above themselves makes “Blood Diamond” a must watch.

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