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Blood Diamond [2006] - 8.97

Leonardo DiCaprio puts a handsome face on an ugly industry: In parts of Africa, diamond mining fuels civil warfare, killing thousands of innocents and drafting preteen children as vicious soldiers. DiCaprio (The Departed) plays Danny Archer, a white African soldier-turned-diamond-smuggler who gets wind of a large raw jewel found by Solomon Vandy, a native fisherman (Djimon Hounsou, In America) recently escaped from enslavement by a brutal rebel leader. Archer offers a deal: He'll help Vandy find his war-scattered family if Vandy will share the diamond with him. Drawn into this web of exploitation is journalist Maddy Bowen (Jennifer Connelly, Little Children), who agrees to help if Archer will tell her the details of how conflict diamonds make their way into the hands of the corporations who sell them to the Western world. DiCaprio is compelling because he never flinches from Archer's utter ruthlessness; Archer ends up doing the morally justifiable thing, but only because his desperate greed has led him to it. Hounsou and Connelly, though saddled with all the moral and political speeches, rise above the cant and keep the movie's treacherously formulaic plot rooted in human characters. But in the end, the story won't stick with you as much as the dead stillness in the child soldiers' eyes; the horror of African civil strife refuses to be contained by Blood Diamond's uplifting message--and the movie is all the more potent as a result. --Bret Fetzer

Customer reviews (av rating: 4.5):

Rating: 5:
Big budget action and a powerful message too : This is a great example of big budget hollywood movie making as it should be. A powerful message, an exciting story, strong performances, all with the hollywood gloss held under control. If you don't get a lump in your throat at any point there's something wrong with your emotions.

Leonardo DiCaprio's accent is worth a mention. I think he does pretty well with it. It slips a few times but isn't nearly as distracting as I thought it would be.

If you like this and haven't already seen it check out The Last Samurai next. Another quality Edward Zwick film.

Rating: 5:
DiCaprio's best : When first seeing this at the cinema i was really impressed, its a genious storyline which truly exploits the seriousness of warfare in 3rd world countries like Africa. Its held together with gripping action, love and emotion- and its by far dicaprio's best performance to date, along with the Departed- it truly shows of his ability to act. I could watch this film a hundred times and never get bored of it, it has easily become one of my all time favourates- DONT listen to some of the people who have reviewed this negatively!

Rating: 4:
An engaging African story : Anybody watching this film should be desperately sad at what they see. It's a thrilling story, but with a serious message about child soldiers. My wife had to stop half way through because of the portrayal of brutalised children.

DiCaprio gives a convincing performance as a white African with low morals. Djimon Hounsou, playing Solomon Vandy, looks earnest enough. The action comes in bursts and there is generally a realistic atmosphere to the whole film.

Although there are important moral issues relating to the film (like how the international diamond trade is populated by some seriously evil people), it still falls under the category of entertainment. If you can stomach some of the scenes that is.

Rating: 4:
Gripping Film : It's a tale of lust, dust, and greed, and at last Leo di Caprio has shown that he can also really act.

Sporting a halfway acceptable Zimbabwean accent, his character teams up against his will with Djimon Hounsou in his search for his son, kidnapped by rebels from Sierra Leon, but really he wants to gget his hands on the huge pink diamond that Hounsou hid in the jungle.

Along comes an impossible love interest, with awkward principles, and the rest is history. Throw in a few baddies as friends and in a Judas role and you have a blockbuster of some sorts. Unfortunately the role of Hounsou is underwritten and not expanded enough.

There is an undercurring tendency to moralise and lecture. But on the whole the film boasts inobtrusive directing, a first class gripping story, and for once a theme that looks at least thematically at exploitation.

Rating: 5:
Exceptional : This film really changed my view on DiCaprio as an actor, in the same way that Fight Club did with Brad Pitt. I believe he really shows his depth and ability in this wonderfully written, produced and directed film. I was captivated, by the dialogue and the wonderful performances throughout and the real issues that this film deals with. If you enjoy engaging, heart rendering movies, then this is one of the best I have seen for a very long time, very much aided by DiCaprio's fantastic performance.

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