Title – Blood Diamond (2006)
Director – Edward Zwick (The Last Samurai)
Cast – Leonardo DiCaprio, Djimon Hounsou, Jennifer Connelly, Arnold Vosloo, Michael Sheen
Plot – In the midst of a political and violent upheaval, African smuggler Danny Archer (DiCaprio) teams up with local fisherman Solomon Vandy (Hounsou) and American journalist Maddy Bowen (Connelly) to find a rare diamond that will change all of their lives for ever.
“In America, it’s bling bling. But out here its bling bang”
Review by Eddie on 13/11/2019
2006 was a good year for Leonardo DiCaprio.
The well regarded actor smashed box office’s and was a lead instigator behind Martin Scorsese’s Best Picture winning The Departed, while also delivering one of his most memorable turns in his Oscar nominated role as black market dealing Danny Archer in Edward Zwick’s impressive thriller Blood Diamond.
A film that at its core acts as a call to arms against the use of illegal diamonds and the way in which they are sourced from the African continent, Zwick’s expertly crafted and well-paced epic may have its fair share of plot conveniences and slightly mawkish moments but judged as a whole and when featuring a fantastic double act between DiCaprio and an equally memorable Djimon Hounsou supporting turn as native African Solomon Vandy, Blood Diamond is deserving of its well-regarded reputation that was slightly undervalued by critics upon initial release.
A seasoned pro at epics with morals, heart and spectacle thanks to efforts such as Glory, Legends of the Fall and The Last Samurai, Zwick is the perfect choice to bring the sweeping tale of Blood Diamond to life as we follow Archer and Vandy, as well as Jennifer Connolly’s more cookie-cutter hard edge journalist Maddy Bowen and Blood Diamond is filled to the brim with heart in your mouth moments, emotional character beats and lessons to be learned as a dangerous quest for a multi-million dollar diamond takes place around a bloodthirsty Sierra Leona uprising.
In this cross country spanning adventure, Zwick never loses sight of the heart and soul of the film that exists between the mismatched pair of Archer and Vandy, a man self-centred on personal fortune and gain and a man dedicated to being reunited with his family and his beloved teenage son who has been captured by a heartless rebel group and in this pairing Zwick manages to elevate his well-shot, scored and edited film to another level.
While many out there would tend to focus on DiCaprio’s fairly intensive South African accent “bro”, there’s little point in trying to deny the impressive work of the renowned actor who plays against type as a more divisive anti-hero that isn’t instantly warm and relatable and his layered performance is a strong example of why DiCaprio was the inform actor of the 2000’s, while the often underrated Hounsou is both powerful and intense as Vandy, in a turn that sits proudly alongside his career defining turns in Amistad, Gladiator and In America.
Another underrated aspect of Zwick’s emotionally charged spectacle is the fact that this Hollywood film refuses to pull any punches from its weighty subject matter, as it delves into the modern horrors affecting the African landscape and whether its examining child soldiers, illegal diamond trades and slave labour or the political unrest of the nation, Blood Diamond is more than a simple thriller, as its tale incorporates a wide ranging set of elements in its quest to paint an overall picture of a confusing time and place.
Final Say –
A heartfelt and thrilling event film, Blood Diamond is a top-notch Hollywood epic and a film deserving of its increasingly well-regarded stature in the years that have passed since its undervalued release.
4 ½ cameramen out of 5