December 06, 2008

Blood Diamond Review

Wrote this for the MSRIT Movie Club.

Director:  Edward Zwick

It is the gripping story of the life threatening quest for a rare diamond. Set in Sierra Leone in the 1990’s during the civil war, Blood Diamond shares the story of the lives of two very different men, Danny Archer (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Solomon Vandy (Djimon Hounsou) brought together by one valuable diamond. It was found and then hidden by Vandy when he was separated from his family and forced to work in the RUF mines. But its existence did not remain a secret. For diamond smuggler Archer, the diamond’s value in the black market would contribute financial help for the RUF rebels’ artillery, giving him his ticket to leave the country. For Vandy it meant freedom and being reunited with his family.

The issue portrayed in the movie, along with the illegal trade of diamonds, is the heartless recruit of child soldiers by the rebels. Among the child soldiers is the Dia Vandy (Kagiso Kuypers), the son of Solomon, so forcefully ingrained with the brutal idealisms of the RUF rebels that family love is initially overpowered by the RUF brainwashing when he is reunited with his father.

What is a good movie without a little romance, even if it is as faint as it is in this movie? The story brings in another character, Maddy Bowen (Jennifer Connelly), and American journalist visiting Africa to research and stop illegal diamond trade. She gets caught in this diamond quest and uses her sources to help Archer and Vandy. The short time spent with Archer forms a deeper connection between. Although no love is expressed verbally both feel a need for the other.

The movie very cleverly ties the two extremes of the story; love for money and love for family with the right amount of suspense, violence, emotion, pain, joy and adventure to keep one entertained throughout the movie. The performance of the risk-it-all fatherly love of the character played by Hounsou and the selfish determined character played by DiCaprio is certainly worth a standing ovation. I also like the contrasts seen between the rural settings in Africa to the highfaluting settings of London.

When analysing the content of the movie, it is apparent that the main theme of the movie is adventure and not the social issues concerned. Although the issues are brought out, I feel that the magnitude of the harshness of the war and extent of the bribery are not given justice in the movie.

About the ending of the movie, it provides a happy ending for viewers to feel good about as well as a sad side, which shows that there is not all happiness in war. Although the phone call to Maddy made by Archer before his death on the top of a mountain seemed a little clichéd, the abrupt end to a potential romance added an interesting twist to the movie.

All in all, it is a movie I would highly recommend, for its praises outnumber its flaws by far.

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