March 27, 2007

Blood Diamond - $8

Rarely is a movie anything more than mindless entertainment, even when a movie does offer something extra it is often nothing more than a simple life lesson or profound statement which elevates a movie to more than just mere fun. Blood Diamond is the rarest of all, a movie which inspires its viewer to look at something in their world in a new way.

Blood Diamond is a story set in 1999 in civil war ravaged Sierra Leone. The economy of Sierra Leone, then and now, revolves around diamond mining and in 1999 the country was in chaos as rebels and the military fought over control of these diamond mines.

Leonardo DiCaprio plays Danny Archer, a diamond smuggler for a major international diamond company. Archer shows no regard for where he gets the diamonds from, only that he acquires them. Djimon Hounsou plays Solomon Bo, a fisherman whose village is destroyed by the rebels who force Bo into slavery in one of their diamond mines. Bo`s wife and children escape the rebels but are impossible for him to locate on his own. While working in the mines Bo finds a priceless diamond and realizing its significance, he hides it. Archer and Bo cross paths as Archer hears about this diamond and knows that Bo he can lead him to it. A deal is struck between the two wherein Archer agrees to help Bo find his family in exchange for help in finding this diamond.

Throughout this movie Danny Archer`s disregard for the origin of the diamonds he trades causes the trading of many diamonds that come from rebel controlled and slave labour driven diamond mines. These are blood diamonds, or conflict diamonds, and they end up mixed with legitimate diamonds and sold to Jewellers all over the world. This is where this movie is controversial, it is unclear how many of the worlds diamonds are conflict diamonds and critics say this movie exaggerates the problem. Sierra Leone is now peaceful and it is said that legitimate diamond mining is the backbone of their economy, critics have said that because of these facts Blood Diamond undeservedly casts a shadow over Sierra Leone`s current mining industry.

Whether conflict diamonds are as big a problem as this movie implies is not clear but nobody disputes that they have been a problem and still exist today. The makers of Blood Diamond should be applauded, in my opinion, for bringing attention to our need in the wealthy west to consider a diamond`s origin before buying it.

Blood Diamond is a well made movie with outstanding acting performances by DiCaprio and Hounsou. An intense movie with images that at times haunt the viewer and at other times inspire. This movie was not without its faults, the pacing dragged at times for one thing, but this can be overlooked in the bigger picture of the powerful story being told.

I put Blood Diamond on my `Watch It` list and give it a value of $8.


Sheamus the... said...

wow...i didnt expect this movie to be that good...So...your saying i should watch it?

Tony Tanti said...

Nice pun.

I went in with low expectations, if I went in expecting a lot maybe I wouldn't have liked it so much.

It wasn't astounding or anything, it was inspiring as a story but as a movie I'm not sure it was a best picture nomineee, thus my $8 rating.

Worth watching for sure though.

Coutts said...

i can't wait to see this movie because it sounds (from your first paragraph) like it is what i thought it was.

i actually haven't read your whole review yet because i want to know very little about the actual story until i've seen it.

what you've described in your first paragraph there is exactly the type of movie i love. it sort of transcends entertainment, because it isn't always easy to watch. i love it though. i'd say half of the movies i watch are escapist entertainment (and they often disappoint, even on that level) but mostly what i'm looking for is stuff like this.

good review. what am i saying? i haven't read it yet. Good first paragraph.

Amy Russell-Coutts said...

I completely agree that this movie is a must-see; not only does it condemn the willful ignorance of rich western companies (and implicates ignorant consumers as well), it juxtaposes the power of human nature as capable of extreme evil and unexpected good alongside the political message.

Jeff Coutts said...

ignorant consumers. . . willful ignorance of rich western companies. . . doesn't sound like a must see. Sounds like I've already seen it.

I'm only kidding (partly). I guess it's good for people to know the truth as much as possible. It's kind of sad that we need an action movie to tell us.

Again, i have not seen this movie so maybe I should just shut-up, but I don't have high hopes for it. I try to be a smart consumer with or without Leo's billion dollar movie.

Tony Tanti said...

jeff, that`s a bit of cynical view of what is certainly not an action movie.

What, Leo can`t bring a social justice issue to the public just because he`s rich and famous.

And tell me, just what is this movie you`ve already seen that deals with a white South African smuggling conflict diamonds and learning about the fate of some of the local people and how his actions and the lack of concern of those who buy this diamonds has caused this.

Jeff Coutts said...

cynical is what I do Dave. I'm pretty sure Leo didn't wake up one morning and decide to tackle the diamond smuggling issue.

I'm not saying this movie has been made before, I was responding to Amy's comments about this movie which seemed over generalized and it seemed like she liked the message of the movie more than the movie.

I heard someone recommend this movie because it had great action, that's where the action comment came from.

Again, I have not seen this movie, and for all I know it is great. I just hope you don't think I'm a bad person cause I have no desire to see it.

Tony Tanti said...

No Jeff, you`re not a bad person, maybe you would be if you knowingly bought a conflict diamond.

I hear you on the Leo comment, though he is known in Hollywood circles as an actor with a social conscience. You`re probably right that he didn`t wake up one day and say let`s make this movie, more likely he saw a chance for an oscar worthy performance. Still though, if a necessary message gets out I won`t judge the messenger for their motivations.

Jeff Coutts said...

fair enough

Anonymous said...

say what you want, from a filmmakers point of view, Leo has no place in this film... he fails miserably, the suspension of disbelief is off the scale for me thanks to his appearance in this film... the producers could have easily got ANYONE that would have been more believable in the role, but they chose to try and squeeze more money out of the TEAT of american movie goers by putting him in there. Shame on the producers of this film... shame.

Tony Tanti said...

Interesting take by Anonymous. I didn't think Leo was amazing in this but he was good and far from a distraction for me.

You suggest anyone would have been better, here are some examples to contradict that:

Hayden Christensen, Brendan Fraser, Nicholas Cage, Pauly Shore... I could go on.