Movie Review: Blood Diamond: Rated B: Another Exploitation Of Sierra Leone.

December 11, 2006 by
Filed under: Uncategorized 

This film stars Leonardo DiCaprio (Danny Archer) as a nihilistic South African diamond smuggler. Djimon Honsou, (Solomon Vandy) is a Sierra Leone fisherman whose village has been ravaged by the Revolutionary United Front. The RUF is a guerrilla army financed by conflict diamonds that uses young boys as soldiers. Vandy is sent off as forced laborer in the guerrilla held diamond fields and his son is conscripted into the rebel army. Jennifer Connelly (Maddy Bowen) is a journalist chasing the story of the international syndicate, DeBeers, which buys the diamonds to maintain their monopoly over the international diamond market. A large part of this market consists of Americans paying high prices for polished bits of carbon that would be worth a few dollars at best if there was a free market in diamonds. The dark side of the purchase of these conflict or blood diamonds is that it finances the RUF in its wild rampage for control of the diamond fields.

In one scene it shows the guerrillas chopping of the hands and arms of innocent civilians. This is the RUF response to the President’s proclamation that the future of a Sierra Leone is in the hands of its people.

While he is a captive, Solomon finds a huge uncut diamond and hides it. He escapes and ends up in a Freetown Jail where Danny is also incarcerated as a captured smuggler. Another prisoner who was A RUF guard accuses Solomon of hiding the diamond.

Danny learns about Solomon’s diamond and when they are released from jail offers to help Solomon to find his son in exchange for a share in the diamond. Danny meets Maddy who wants the story and pictures of the diamond fields, slave workers and the boy soldiers to show how the diamond cartel prolongs the war. She offers to help Danny and Solomon return to the diamond field where the Solomon has buried the diamond using her journalist access as cover. This is as about as thick as the plot gets.
Blood Diamond an exploitation film about exploitation.

This motion picture is loosely based on the political situation in Sierra Leone that existed in the Nineties. Since 2000 with the help of UN troops the situation is stable and the RUF is a political party and no longer in control of the diamond fields.

This movie therefore is old news and its self righteous indignation at the activities of the diamond cartel in financing the guerrillas and their bloodthirsty war sounds phony. The movie pretends to be a “cause” movie but it is not because it concerns it self with past events and not an on going situation like Darfur.

Indeed the movie is just a new level of exploitation in the long history of Sierra Leone.
This time by the movie industry using the country to make another buck off the misery of the people there.

The script is poorly written and the movie is basically a dramatic chase movie rather than an expose of the diamond trade. Indeed the diamonds are now mined by the government and sold to DeBeers so they can continue to maintain their monopoly.
DiCaprio and Honsou are convincing in their roles. Jennifer Connelly is out of her depth. There are other actresses ( i.e.Cate Blanchette) who could have played her role much more effectively but probably turned the role down recognizing the movie for what it is. A misguided attempt to secure an Academy Award for DiCaprio.

The film is directed by Edward Zwick who has done better work, (i.e. The Last Samurai). All this said the film is still worth a viewing.

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