Sunday, January 14, 2007

Bloodshed Diamond

With some resemblance to The Constant Gardener, where it was about how multinationals test research drugs on the people of Africa, Blood Diamond is about how the illegal smuggling of diamonds or conflict diamonds helped to fuel the rebellion and wars in that continent too.

From IMDB:
Set against the backdrop of civil war and chaos in 1990's Sierra Leone, Blood Diamond is the story of Danny Archer (Leonardo DiCaprio) - a South African mercenary - and Solomon Vandy (Djimon Hounsou) - a Mende fisherman. Both men are African, but their histories as different as any can be, until their fates become joined in a common quest to recover a rare pink diamond that can transform their lives. While in prison for smuggling, Archer learns that Solomon - who was taken from his family and forced to work in the diamond fields - has found and hidden the extraordinary rough stone. With the help of Maddy Bowen (Jennifer Connelly), an American journalist whose idealism is tempered by a deepening connection with Archer, the two men embark on a trek through rebel territory, a journey that could save Solomon's family and give Archer the second chance he thought he would never have.

Even though that is that is the main storyline, the story also depicts very much about the violence and war in Sierra Leone, where blood or conflict diamonds originate. These are diamonds smuggled out of the country and sold to diamond companies and the money is used to buy weapons to further fueled the wars.

There are many scenes of violence, shooting and how young boys were taken away from the families to be trained to be so-called revolution fighters by these rebels. How they were given drugs and material possessions like CDs and TVs to keep them contented and do what their commanders ordered. The children have to do horrible things and even if they are saved from these "training camps", it takes years for them to recover, like how war veterans suffer something similar.

All these provide the background for something a story about compassion, humanity, love and redemption.

Excellent acting by Leonardo DiCaprio (he is nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actor) and he thoroughly deserve it. He plays a soldier of fortune of white African descend, Danny Archer, who would do anything for money because there's no other way. He thinks his ticket out of Africa, out of all these killings and wars, is to locate a rare pink diamond, who was found by Solomon.

Solomon, played by Djimon Hounsou (last seen in Eragon), is a father who would do anything to be reunited with his family. His son was taken away by the RFU, a rebel group and trained to kill mercilessly.

Jennifer Connelly plays a supporting role as an American journalist and provides the love interest for the Dicaprio. Her role is also important as the journalist who exposed the illegal trade of a diamond company which purchased conflict diamonds and mixed them with legal diamonds to be sold worldwide.

It's amazing how the producers managed to weave a wonderful story and yet to convey the message about conflict diamonds. The gritty realism is sometimes, well ... too real. The sufferings of the common people in any war, the merciless and senseless killings of the masses BY children to do such things ... it really is sick and yet this was and is still happening in some countries.

Go watch the movie for an enjoyable two hours plus of action, human drama and a man's love for his family. Watch it to see how senseless violence can be. A emotional roller coaster ride for me. I cried buckets a little towards the end, no thanks to some emotional manipulation Hollywood-style, though still heart moving for its portrayal.

How could God forgive us for all the the things (violence) we do to each other. But then, God has left this place a long time ago. In a continent so rich in culture and history, where the first humans come from, it is sad that it is still a humanitarian disaster.

I rate it a 4.25 out of 5.

P/S For some information about the actual situation, please go here. It might help to provide some background information for the movie.


Anonymous said...

This story is so rich of the total opposites from Singapore. Sighz... How pathetic human can be?..

Maybe like what you quoted, "But then, God has left this place a long time ago"...

William said...

Sad diamonds...

JL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JL said...

the fall of humanity is by the hand of humans themselves...

A very good movie indeed. Thanks for the recommendation :)

savante said...

Whoa. It sounds pretty good then. Must give it a try.

Derek said...

anonymous: Hmmm, don't really understand your comment. Still, thanks for commenting! ;P

william: It's the people you should feel bad for, not the diamonds!

jl: You're welcome. You won't regret it!

savante: You should, Paul dear. Go with your bf, I think he would like it too!