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Blood Diamond

Blood Diamond

Genre: Drama / Action
Rated: R
Directed by
: Edward Zwick
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Djimon Hounsou, Jennifer Connelly, Kagiso Kuypers, Arnold Vosloo
Released by:
Warner Bros. Pictures

In Short: Intensely personal, yet global in scope, with fine acting and powerful visuals, "Blood Diamond" is a strong candidate for the Academy Awards.

Oscar Contender
A Winning Combo of Global Policies and Personal Strife

by Jenny Peters

"Blood Diamond" is everything a movie should be. With a relevant sociopolitical issue serving as the backdrop for a very personal struggle, it is told with beautiful yet horrific visuals, and convincingly acted by some of the best in the business. The film is a favorite so far among the onslaught of serious, end-of-year Oscar contenders coming out of the gate before Dec. 31.

Leonardo DiCaprio in Blood Diamond
Djimon Hounsou and Jennifer Connelly in Blood Diamond

Leonardo DiCaprio gives one of the finest performances of his career as Danny Archer, a South African mercenary doing a brisk business in smuggling so-called "conflict" (or "blood") diamonds out of Sierra Leone, ravaged by the real-life 1999 bloody civil war between government and rebel forces. His willingness to exploit the misery of that African country's people for profit is shaken when he meets Solomon Vandy (Djimon Hounsou), a fisherman whose family has been torn apart by the fighting.

Vandy has been forced to work in the diamond fields, his wife and younger children ripped from him and sent to a refugee camp, and his pre-teen son taken by the rebels, impressed into soldiering, and turned into a ruthless child-animal, a self-proclaimed "baby killer." Meanwhile, Vandy has found—and hidden—a huge pink diamond that Archer wants to sell to a big international diamond company (a thinly veiled fictional version of De Beers), whose agents are willing to clandestinely buy "blood" gems from him on the black market.

Leonardo DiCaprio in Blood Diamond
Djimon Hounsou in Blood Diamond

Hounsou, an actor best known for his work in “Gladiator” and his Oscar-nominated (and heartbreaking) turn in “In America,” anchors “Blood Diamond” in an emotional reality that makes the film by Edward Zwick (“Glory,” “Courage Under Fire”) much more than just a polemic on the problems faced by many African nations that have resources (diamonds, oil, etc.) coveted by richer, more developed nations.

Instead, “Blood Diamond” is a heady mix of brutal action, wrenching emotion and political commentary. It’s a powerful film with striking images that will stay with you long after the lights go up and definitely the next time you head into a jewelry store to purchase some bling.

(Updated 08/30/07 NJ)

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