Blood Diamond (2006)
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Edward Zwick, Marshall Herskovitz
Leonardo DiCaprio, Djimon Hounsou, Jennifer Connelly, Arnold Vosloo, Basil Wallace, Jimi Mistry, Michael Sheen, Marius Weyers, Stephen Collins, Ato Essandoh, Percy Matsemela, Nick Reding, Grant Swanby, Winston Ntshona, Zenzo Ngqobe, Clare Holman, Karen Haacke, Tyrone Keogh, Tony Kgoroge, Jonathan Pienaar, David S. Lee, Adetokumboh M'Cormack, Antony Coleman, David Harewood, Ronnie Nyakale, Klemens Becker, Akin Omotoso, Chiméne Costa, Martin Abdul-Jabbar, Gaurav Chopra, Karl McMillan, Nathaniel Ramabulana, Carol Behane, Nigel Harman, Kagiso Kuypers, Benu Mabhena, Anointing Lukola, Ntare Mwine, Bouba Badiane, Dini Nondumo, Tau Maserumule, Adetokumboh M'Cormack, Sonni Chidiebere, Nnamdi Onyeiwu, Nhlanhla Mavimbela, Mfundo Pisani, Phado Bahola, Thabang Mothle, Buhle Seya, Sizwe Makapela, Mduduzi Mabaso, Mlungisi Hlophe, Kedibone Tholo, Koketso Mojela
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Ace of Diamonds
Favorite Movie Quote: "I'm right where I'm supposed to be."
I find films that tread in the arena of important world events are often damned if they do or damned if they don't. Part of wanting more people to see it is to raise awareness and justify a budget to get the thing made right. On the other hand, I don't think it would be cynical to say that the filmmakers want to make a lot of f*cking money. There is a line between raising awareness and exploitation, and I couldn't really blame anyone who didn't trust Hollywood to hold the Sharpie.
Amongst the criticisms I heard leveled at Blood Diamond were White Guy in a Minority Tale, Love Story Inserted Unnecessarily, Crappy Accent, and Girl Go Home. Considering that you have Zwick at the helm (The Last Samurai & the first white one, Glory) it could go either way. Thankfully, in the case of Blood Diamond, it all works unless you're looking for something to b*tch about.
The setting for all of this is Sierra Leone at the turn of the century, whose state of affairs are very briefly but accurately summed up by South African (Rhodesian, he says) ex-military, diamond smuggling bad-ass Danny Archer (Leonardo Dicaprio) in a conversation with well-meaning trauma addict (her words) and reporter Maddie Bowen (Jennifer Connelly). In short, everyone wants the diamonds ($.$), no one wants to actually be their brother's keeper. The RUF (laughably: Revolutionary United Front) is on the verge of sacking the slightly less sh*tty official government and the whole country is in a countdown until an all out free-for-all.
The trigger for all of this, and the film's namesake, is provided when ernest fisherman and father, Solomon Vandy (Djimon Hountsou), is made hostage of the RUF and discovers a big fat diamond before Sierra Leone troops attack the camp and round him up with everyone else. Also busted is the RUF dude that saw him find the diamond and he rants about it as they are getting locked up. Danny, locked up for trying to pass into Liberia with his own goat-full of conflict diamonds, overhears the interchange and his wheels turn.
What follows are three intersecting journeys as Danny tries to get the stone to get out of Africa and start a new life, Solomon tries to gather his scattered family (his son gets nabbed after Solomon gets away), and Maddie tries to wheedle the information and proof from Danny she needs that she knows he has about how Sierra Leone's diamonds are getting to the world market.
Overall, I thought Blood Diamond was pretty damn good, bringing some light to something that, quite frankly, I still don't think many people give a sh*t about - Africa. It does tickle getting preachy at times, but I'm not sure you can deal with child soldiers without having to clear your throat at least a little.
Of the critisicms I listed above, I didn't really find much foundation for them. For one thing, there are indigenous white people in Africa (which raises the question: if Leo's character moved to America, would he be an African-American? See how f*cking stupid political correctness is?), so Danny is right where he's supposed to be. As for Maddie not following the two men into the deeper part of the belly of the beast, I thought it was refreshing, since she had the book, thus the story, and a responsibility to get the information out. And the 'love story'...
I thought this was very well done, considering that nothing happens physically between the two. Most good-looking people I know would definitely have screwed each other, whether they liked each other or not, in those circumstances. Instead this is more of a, as Danny puts it, "in a different life maybe" kind of situation. My point is that if you don't cast hideous CHUDs ('cause who wants to watch that?), it's almost unbelievable if they don't swoon, screw, or both. Funerals. That's all I'm saying.
They only thing I probably didn't like about the movie was the villification of the mercs. I don't recall what they were calling themselves in the film, but historically it was Executive Outcomes, a private military firm similar to that which was depicted, except its make up was both white and black soldiers, and whose involvement stopped the fighting until they were ordered out by the Sleights of the Round Table, the United Nations. Shortly after EO was order out (I believe 48 hours) the violence kickstarted again with UN peacekeepers in attendance, thumb firmly in rectum.
Anyhoo, I think I'm crossing the political threshold. Toodles.
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