Review: Blood Diamond (2006)

**This Review Is Taken From My Own Personal Rotten Tomatoes Account**

Set against the backdrop of civil war and chaos in 1990’s Sierra Leone, Blood Diamond is the story of Danny Archer, an ex mercenary from Zimbabwe and Solomon Vandy, a Mende fisherman. Both men are African, but their histories as different completely, until their fates become joined in a mission to recover a rare pink diamond,that can change 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, 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.

Blood Diamond is, however, a character study basically about two wronged men who team up together, for greater or for worse, to fix the screwy lives they both have and therefore getting Archer his freedom and Soloman his family back from the rebels. This theme is not thoroughly new, but the brilliant commentary on real-life tragic events combined with the focused cast and crew overcome the somewhat dull story telling and make it more interesting and vibrant.

The whole cast work nicely together and the on-screen chemistry between Leonardo DiCaprio, Djimon Hounsou, and Jennifer Connelly was fantastic. Leo plays Danny Archer, an ex-mercenary from Zimbabwe. He is a joy to watch perform, and gives an excellent and insightful performance. Djimon plays Solomon Vandy, a Mende fisherman. He made me interested in these people’s struggles and how they overcome them with a brilliant and meaningful performance. Jennifer Connelly plays Maddy Bowen, an American journalist. She was witty and charming, with enough star power to leave me hooked on her whole side of the story the entire film.

The script was well-written, but the plot at times can feel a bit contrived. which, like I said was made up with the brilliant commentary and the focused cast and crew. I like how this film has a bunch of completely different aspects, such as: During the chase scenes, this film can feel and mask itself as a fast-paced thriller. The war aspect feels more realistic because of the journalistic approach to the subject matter. The romance genre can show itself a little here and there, but it actually works and isn’t clichéd at all, almost a first for modern romance films. The drama aspect feels a little watered down because of the whole character study feeling and aspect, but proves itself worthy towards the end.

The direction is just superb. I salute Edward Zwick for making it more realistic and feeling like a true-story (I mean of Archer and Solomon, not the whole “blood diamond” thing, because that was partially true) than a straight-up adventure film with a deep meaning and great set pieces. The cinematography was sweeping, with great shots and a documentary styling that actually doesn’t have the whole shake camera bit.

All in all, Blood Diamond is a superbly acted character study/thriller film that sorta feels like a documentary for its strong truths that are supported by an excellent story. A great film, but it may not be for everyone.

[A- ; 80% ; 8.4/10]