“In America, it’s bling bling. But out here it’s bling bang.”
Blood Diamond takes place in west Africa right in the heat of the Sierra Leone Civil War; a bloody fight spurred from the conflict between the RUF (Revolutionary United Front) and the government over control of diamond mines. The story follows Danny Archer, a smuggler, and Solomon Vandy, a fisherman who was captured by the RUF and possess a very valuable and very rare pink diamond. When the two meet in jail, Danny finds out about the diamond and is immediately voracious for it. The one thing more valuable and coveted to Solomon than the diamond is his family and he agrees to surrender the diamond to Danny in return for help getting his wife and children back. What proceeds is a high action adventure capturing Danny and Solomon’s journey to obtaining the diamond.
DiCaprio, sporting a South African accent, is the star of the film and does a great job as Danny, creating a character that is hard to peg as entirely good or entirely bad. His performance yet again brings up the question ‘has Leonardo made a bad movie?’ Djimon Hounsou delivers a good performance as Vandy but it is nothing overly special. The pair does, however, work wonderfully together on screen.
The cinematography is extremely well done and captures beautiful shots of the seemingly untouched landscape; especially the first few opening shots which are stunning.
At times, Blood Diamond seems to be more of a blockbuster epic than a real life history piece and the little known, and all the more important story, gets lost in the obviously Hollywood-ized film. As there always needs to be, there is a love story element along with intense action sequences paired with violence which overshadows and takes away from the extremely powerful story. Not to say it isn’t a good film because it really is; it’s well made and directed but it just doesn’t succeed in translating a very powerful story into a powerful film. At the end of the day it’s a seldom heard story and one begging to be told, which makes Blood Diamond worth a watch.
Looking past the trite moments, Blood Diamond, while not amazing nor memorable, is a well made film that voices a little heard of story and definitely draws focus to diamond jewelry in everyday life questioning just where it might have come from and if it could talk, what remarkable stories it might have to tell.