Dir: Edward Zwick. US. 2006. 138mins.
A well-written, well-acted and provocative politicalaction thriller, Edward Zwick's Blood Diamond provokes its audience into thinking about the impactof diamond lust on the
Zwick has crafted several classily producedbig-star movies about conflict past and present, such as The Last Samurai (2003, $457m globally), although that starred TomCruise and valued visual opulence above strong narrative. For better commercialcomparisons, look towards Zwick's The Siege (1998, about domesticterrorism, $116m worldwide) and Courage Under Fire (1996, about the first Iraq War, $100worldwide), as well as Ridley Scott's BlackHawk Down (2001, $173m worldwide), another contemporary African warfaremovie.
Blood Diamond could rival returns for Scott's feature, especially givenDiCaprio's renewed profile following the recent The Departed. Broad upscale audiencesmay respond if the first major
Rolling out inthe
The film opens in
Captured in the SierraLeonese capital
On release the twomen form a reluctant alliance to locate the stone, Archer for its potential profit,Solomon in order to secure the release of his family from a refugee camp.Meanwhile, a muckraking journalist/photographer (Connelly) attaches herself tothe pair and develops a relationship with Danny.
Edward Zwick studied Sorious Samura's documentary CryFreetown - about the conflict in Sierra Leone - before he began shooting Blood Diamond and the grim depiction ofviolence evidenced here is shatteringly, exhaustingly naturalistic.
During the battle/slaughterscenes rockets are fired at low-level close-range targets with frighteningresults. The rebels, including their child soldiers, cruise around in vehicleslike stoned-out zombies, fitted out with bizarre costumes, blaring radios andguns.
In the past
Leonardo DiCaprio, in his second fine performance this year after The Departed, is all stubble andbelievable southern African accent. He carries Blood Diamond as a sly, treacherous, even furiously dangerous, amoralman who slowly grows a conscience. At the same time his character is fullyformed enough to be calm, reflective, noble andflirtatiously charming when called for. Such charm is especially on display inhis relationship with Jennifer Connelly, with who DiCaprioshows good chemistry, although her part is relatively one-dimensional in itsdefinition.
With his shavenhead and deep-voiced gravity, Djimon Hounsou acquits himself well - he may be an outside shotfor supporting actor awards consideration - but Charles Leavitt'sotherwise-astute screenplay sometimes renders him too noble for hiscircumstances. Elsewhere Michael Sheen - Tony Blair in The Queen - has an amusing cameo as the
Photography - thefilm was mainly shot in
The drama isunderscored by James Newton Howard's inspiring and mournful score, which mixesorchestral music with African choral voices.
Warner Bros Pictures
Bedford Falls Productions
Initial Entertainment Group
Spring Creek Productions
Warner Bros Pictures
Kevin De La Noy
From a story by: Charles Leavitt and C Gaby Mitchell