I didn’t really take Leo DiCaprio as the kind of actor that would play a diamond smuggler looking to secure passage out of Africa using a massive raw diamond as leverage. That said, I was happy to see him. Blood Diamond presents its audience with realism, not acting. To get specific, I mean the nitty gritty, not the glamour. Of course there’s acting. The point is, the movie doesn’t reek of Hollywood taint. You can watch it without having to pause and rinse your mouth out after a long, almost premeditated speech about how a mercenary’s cold heart thawed because of the girl of his dreams. Got it? Glad you’re listening.
Solomon Vandy is a fisherman in the village of Shenge, in Sierra Leonia. The Revolutionary United Front makes a sweep through his area, shooting up everyone they can and kidnapping who they leave alive. Solomon’s son Dia is conscripted and brainwashed by the RUF, and Solomon himself is forced into slavery, panning for diamonds.
Diamond panning under the RUF is a far cry from safe and simple. Stealing a diamond means your life. Disobedience means your life, or maybe a hand. Odds are, if you’ve been enslaved, you may as well consider yourself dead. Solomon, however, chances upon a pink diamond the size of a bird’s egg, and buries it just as the government comes in and shoots the place up. He winds up on a truck heading to a prison in Freetown.
Danny Archer shares a similar fate, though under different circumstances. He works for South African diamond company executive Van De Kaap, making a living off of smuggling diamonds across the border into Liberia. The border officers catch Danny in the act and confiscate his goods, then slam him into the same truck Solomon was shoved in. The leader of the RUF camp shouts about Solomon’s family, name, and diamond before being carted away. As such, the two set up a deal where Danny will find Solomon’s family in exchange for the ruddy big diamond.
Danny eventually enlists the aid of Maddy Bowen, a journalist who he initially doesn’t care for. At first, she’s just a threat to him because she could blow his smuggling operation. Soon after, she becomes a valuable asset because she has a certain level of influence among the locals. Together, they try to rescue Solomon’s family while simultaneously trying to locate the diamond that’s going to save Danny’s ass from his employer’s vengeance.
The movie’s just over two hours long, but it feels a lot longer. I don’t mean that in a bad way, though. Does it have slower parts? Yeah, it does. Does it drag its ass? Nope. The content and quality of Blood Diamond is evenly distributed all throughout. That, coupled with the fantastic acting and above-par plot, should keep you interested until the conclusion rolls around.
Special mention goes to Djimon Hounsou for doing such a fantastic job with his role. You’d think Leo would be the focus by default, but I beg to differ. You rarely see average Joe protagonists that refrain from indulging in obligatory heroics, yet come through as the “good guy” all the same. Better seen than heard, I suppose. Check the film out and see what I’m rambling about.
But first, the Itsvery movie review take on Blood Diamond! To my surprise, many people found that Solomon was a flat, clichéd character. While I can see how that can rouse a bit of discontentedness, I do believe that Solomon was all he needed to be. He was a simple man with simple needs, and he pursued them in a way befitting his personality and situation. Sure, we in the audience may not find him very spectacular, but that’s realism over Hollywoodism for you. Anyway, check out the review here: http://www.moviereviewblog.net/2007/01/30/blood-diamond-by-edward-zwick/