Blood Diamond Reviewed

Strange lights of the Ao Chalong pier in Phuket, Thailand. Part of the Thailand Chronicles.

Set in 1999 in Sierra Leone, Blood Diamond explores the poignant story of conflict diamonds. Conflict diamonds are mined in emerging countries and used to buy arms to fuel civil war.

Our story begins when a father called Solomon is forced to work in the conflict diamond mines. He is separated from his family and put to work. In the first few minutes of the movie, there are some chilling scenes, giving an example of some part of African reasoning.

Freetown wants you to vote, and they need your hands.
We will take your hands and your vote.

It’s funny, because I was discussing Africa this afternoon with some friends. Africa has been ravaged by tribal warfare for a very long time.

Will tribal warfare and the AIDS epidemic burn through Africa within the next 50 years and destroy its civilizations? That is a good question.

Africa is a hotbed for AIDS and this epidemic is ravaging the population. The figures I have seen paint a very bleak picture of what is to come in the future.

The colors and cinematography of this film is spectacular. Super saturated colors paint a beautiful picture of Africa, an Africa that you want to discover and see for yourself.

I was surprised at how much I liked The Aviator with Leonardo DiCaprio. In this movie, he continues with an excellent performance. He uses his South-African accent very effectively, it does not seem forced. I know quite a few South-Africans, and he uses similar expressions, which is quite a tribute.

Danny Archer is an arms dealer and a smuggler. He sells his wares to the RUF. He then tries to smuggle his diamonds through, but only gets arrested in the process. This is the first time he gets into trouble for this. He had done it countless times before.

Solomon discovers a giant pink diamond and manages to hide it right before the government troops attack the RUF slave labor camp. In prison, the slavedriver accuses Solomon of taking the diamond, but in doing so, only lets Archer know about it who is in prison for smuggling.

Archer gets out of prison and asks his accomplice to get Solomon out as well. The diamond brokers that work with Archer have disavowed any dealings with him in the press. But Archer knows that for the right diamond, they will do business with him.

He meets a journalist named Maddie covering the blood diamond angle, and quickly ditches her.

Somehow this movie makes me want to be a National Geographic photographer and travel the world as a freelance photographer taking pictures.

Solomon is trying to find news about his family in the refugee camps, but to no avail. Meanwhile, his family is being hunted like dogs by the RUF.

Archer holds off one of the Kernel’s goons. He owes the Kernel money for the diamonds he lost.

Archer finds Solomon again, but nothing comes of their first meeting. Solomon’s son is recruited into the RUF and has become a child soldier. We see the type of training that they receive.

The same slavedriver that was Solomon’s boss is taking charge of the training process of the child soldiers. He takes the role of a surrogate father for the boys.

Solomon and Archer hook up again, just before the RUF stats attacking Freetown. They make their escape amidst chaos and slaughter.

They make their way to a refugee camp and hook up with Maddie, the reporter. Archer tells her that he will give her the story that she wants if she helps out Solomon. In exchange, Archer will get 50% of the profit when they sell the diamond.

They find Solomon’s family, but he discovers that his son is missing. He tells Archer where the diamond is.

Archer makes his final appeal to Maddie; he tells her how everything works in exchange to getting him to the diamond. He wants his cut so that he can pay back the Kernel. He tells her that she can publish anything she wants, after he gives them the diamond. After that, he won’t be in Africa anymore.

They make it to meet the Kernel and Archer makes his way to the diamond in the conflict zone.

Archer and Solomon make their way to the diamond mine. A few times on the road, Solomon thinks he sees his son in the RUF, but to no avail. When they arrive at the mines, Archer realizes that it is a major rebel camp. He orders an air strike, thanks to the GPS and the sat phone he took from the base camp.

During the night, Solomon goes out by himself to see if his son is among the RUF. He finds him and gets himself taken prisoner. Things quickly dwindle out of control, after a showdown between Archer and the Kernel, a lot of people are dead and Solomon takes the diamond to London.

Maddie receives one last call from Archer before he dies.

* * * * *

I really enjoyed this movie. It definitely showcased Leonardo DiCaprio’s acting abilities. His portrayal of a South-African is uncanny. The story is interesting as well, though the way that the child soldiers are indoctrinated are disturbing, but no doubt not far from the truth.

I like the fact how they explain the high prices of diamonds and how the diamond cartels are buying up the conflict diamonds in order to store them so that they do not flood the market. A tale that is probably grounded partly in truth, since it makes economic sense.






5 responses to “Blood Diamond Reviewed”

  1. Another Week Has Gone By « memoirs on a rainy day Avatar

    […] week I finally got to watch some movies that I had been saving: Blood Diamond and 300. I still have Volver, Apocalypto, Hannibal Rising, Letters From Iwo Jima, five episodes of […]

  2. K Avatar

    I enjoyed the movie although it was sort too violent seeing those young kids killing innocents it gave a sad impression of the way the African Govt handle their own people. Di Caprio’s acting is really good on this one but wasn’t he nominated for the wrong movie? The black actor (isn’t he an African?) in Blood Diamond gave the best supporting acting and he was even nominated for that category.

    I left the cinema wondering about why Diamond is so expensive.

  3. K Avatar

    And oh, can’t miss to watch Apocalypto and 300.

  4. range Avatar

    The black actor is French, if I remember correctly.

    My guess is that shooting on location in Africa can get quite expensive.

  5. range Avatar

    I’ve seen 300 but I still have to watch Apocalypto.

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