Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Djimon Hounsou, Jennifer Connelly, Arnold Vosloo, Michael Sheen
Written By: Charles Leavitt
Directed By: Edward Zwick
Studio: Warner Bros
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Based on a true story, comes the tale of one of the most valuable thing out of Africa’s Sierra Leone region, the Blood Diamond. Unique and extremely valuable, Civil War has broken out because these diamonds originate from Sierra Leone and are smuggled out of the country to the highest bidder. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Danny Archer, a former mercenary turned Smuggler and Djimon Hounsou as Solomon Vandy. He’s a local fisherman who is out to protect his family and get his son back, who was taken by the rebels to work for them. Director Edward Zwick turns out another compelling action-drama piece and opens viewer’s eyes on another part of the world we hardly know.
It’s 1999 and Sierra Leone is on the brink of Civil War. The region is known for its flawless diamonds, and as everyone knows out there what snob’s people are about their diamonds. Danny Archer (DiCaprio) is an ex mercenary who works for a London Corporation who pays him to smuggle diamonds out of the region. Essentially, he gets them out of the country so that this corporation can keep most of them off the market and keep the prices sky high. Unfortunately, the diamond business is brutal and still exists today. The Government and rebel war lords vie for control of the diamond mines so that they can reap the benefit of these diamonds. One of which, Solomon Vandy (Hounsou,) is uprooted from his family when rebels come in to kill the women and capture any able worker, adult or child, to find diamonds. Once a local fisherman, now Solomon must stay alive to find diamonds for these monsters. Unbeknownst to him, his son is taken from the village as well and forced to be a child rebel and do unthinkable things at his age. Solomon comes into the most unique and giant diamond anyone has found, and looks to keep it a secret. When Archer and Solomon’s path cross, Archer looks to be greedy and say he will help Solomon find his family and in turn get the diamond. With the help of American Journalist, Maddy Bowen (Connely,) the trio finds themselves in the thick of it all that is dangerous all for the smallest of things in the world. All have a different agenda, but ultimately it leads to a pretty predictable conclusion.
Suffice to say though; the film is very entertaining, and an eye opener that’s for sure. Leonardo DiCaprio and Djimon Hounsou turn in excellent performances. I think for me though Djimon had the better performance. His abilities as an actor are impressive, and to show fear and anger like he did in this film, it’s sometimes hard to imagine it’s not real. You could say the same thing about Leo. Each film he does is different and though I have not been a fan of his in the past, he has been doing much better movies these days and his acting gets better and better. I also have enjoyed Director Edward Zwick’s films (Glory, Last Samurai) in the past and this one is no different.
Extras on the second disc featured several small Featurettes and a feature on following how a diamond comes from the mines of Sierra Leone to the store and consumer. With “Becoming Archer,” we get an inside look at how Leo prepared for the role as South African Danny Archer. “Journalism on the Front Line” deals with Jennifer Connelly and her research on Women Journalists who throw themselves into War and what stories come out of it. As you can tell from the film, these women have just as much courage as the men fighting these wars because they are just observing, and taking photographs, while having to deal with the incoming fire. The Siege of Freetown is a powerful scene, based on true events, that Director Ed Zwick wanted to accurately capture. As you learn in this feature, it’s a logistically nightmare but can be the most rewarding for a filmmaker when everything gets on film ok. Rounding out the features was a Nas music video and while watching the film you can listen to commentary by Edward Zwick.
Blood Diamond is a great film especially in a world like today, and it’s got a nice balance of action, suspense and drama. The film also has excellent performances by the cast and another masterful turn for Director Edward Zwick. I would definitely recommend this one.
-Commentary by Director Edward Zwick
-Blood On The Stone: Follow a Diamond’s Path from the Ground to the Store
-Becoming Archer: Profiling Leonardo DiCaprio
-Journalism on the Front Line: Jennifer Connelly on Women Journalists at War
-Inside the Siege of Freetown: Edward Zwick on One of the Movie’s Pivotal Sequences
-Nas “Shine On ‘Em” Music Video
ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1 CC
SPANISH: Dolby Digital 5.1
FRENCH: Dolby Digital 5.1
-Widescreen 2.35:1 Color (Anamorphic)
English, Spanish, French
Favorite Scenes: Discovery of the diamond, Solomon and Archer escape Freetown, Siege, Maddy and Archer bond, Revenge at the camp, London
Running Time: 143 minutes