Sunday, April 01, 2007

Blood Diamond: Grade C


Blood Diamond

Leonardo DiCaprio, Djimon Hounsou, Jennifer Connelly. Director Edward Zwick.

This movie earns a C instead of a D because the story of conflict diamonds is important and it is clearly told here. The message is pounded in with heavy handed speechifying, but I give credit for trying. Also, DiCaprio does a fine acting job, with a convincing Afrikaans accent, although he is too delicate to be fully believable as a crusty, he-man adventurer. Hounsou doesn't have many lines but is a physical actor who projects a lot of presence. I hope we see more of him. Connelly is wasted by the abyssmal dialog. (To L.D. dying, "I'm really glad I met you." L.D.: "I'm really glad I met you too."). She was so good in House of Sand and Fog, it is inexcusable to reduce her to a pretty face. The story is almost, but not quite the life-cycle of one huge raw diamond found by Hounsou in Sierra Leone. DiCaprio is a smuggler who wants to sell it to a thinly disguised DeBeers corporation. Connelly is a reporter trying to expose the blood diamond trade. Meanwhile rebels are overthrowing Sierra Leone by indiscriminate killing and recruiting of child soldiers. Corrupt generals on all sides also compete for the special diamond. Amazingly, after the second village slaughter, I became bored with slaughter. Have Hollywood editors lost all independence? I personally could have cut this movie back from 2.5 hours to 90 minutes. The African scenery is nice, but also repetitive. The violence is shocking at first, but soon I started trying to see how the special effects blood spurts were achieved. There are about 5 themes here, each worthy of a movie, but just when you think the movie is over, another theme is introduced. That's called rambling.

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