This movies is based on the true story of the ‘blood’ or conflict diamonds being mined, smuggled and sold in war zones to finance the conflicts and thereby profit warlords and diamond companies around the globe. This film is set in the Sierra Leone Civil war that raged from 1991-2002 and depicts many atrocities of war including the effect on the people, the way the militia and government treat their own people, child soliders and how people are turned into slaves to mine for these diamonds that are then sold around the globe as engagement rings, necklaces, bracelets, etc.
This film stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Connelly and Djimon Hounsou. Leonardo’s character, Danny, is a smuggler who finds himself thrown in jail where he meets Solomon (Djimon), a fisherman who’s village was torn apart by rebels and was taken as a slave to mine for diamonds. He hears that he found a massive, pink diamond and hid it before the mine was raided by the military. Danny wants this diamond to buy his freedom and leave Africa forever so he teams up with Solomon, under the pretence that he will help him find his family, to get the diamond. Along the way he meets Maddie (Jennifer) who is a journalist who wants to make a difference in this war torn country. The three of them are thrown together to find Solomon’s family, find the diamond and once Danny is out of the country, he will give Maddie all the information on Van De Capp (a large jewellery store and big buyer of blood diamonds) so she can release the information to the public.
The film ends with a conference is held concerning blood diamonds. This refers to the historic meeting that took place in Kimberley, South Africa in 2000. This conference led to the development of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, which sought to certify the origin of rough diamonds in order to stop the trade of conflict diamonds.
Although this film is centred around facts, this is still very much a fictional story. The characters are fictional, however, some of the events that happen to and around these characters are factual. I find the balance between the two is perfect. We get the facts and atrocities of the real war, while having a captivating and moving story centred around three fictional characters.
What are your thoughts on this? Did you find the balance good?
I was around 12 years old when this movie came out. I remember it was a much anticipated film and I couldn’t wait to see it. However, I got a few minutes through and I saw THAT scene. If you have seen the movie, you’ll know what scene I’m talking about. (Quote from the scene) “Young man, young man, you must understand! The government wants you to vote, okay? They say ‘The future is in your hands!’… We are the future, so we take your hands! No more hands, no more voting!”… You get the idea.
As soon as I saw that scene I turned it off and hoped to never hear or see that movie again! Obviously, I did end up seeing it again. I was around 16 and my English class did this for film study. Now, in the past, any film we had previously done for film study instantly ruined the film for me. Usually because of the amount of times we had to watch, analyse, remember quotes, memorise facts, write essays on them. However, for me, this film study helped me appreciate Blood Diamond so much more than just watching it. I’m so glad I analysed this film as it gave me such a deep appreciation for the music, the character development, the script and so much more.
Honestly, all three actors deserved Oscars for their portrayals of these characters. The way Leonardo portrays Danny, a harden smuggler from ‘Rhodesia’ (Zimbabwe) who only cares for his own survival. His whole attitude and body language right down to the accent is just perfect. Throughout the film we see him open up a little to Maddie so we, the audience, can see a softer side and see some character development that is crucial of the end of the film. What I love about this character development is that it isn’t over done. Yes we see glimpses of a softer side, yes there’s a little hint of romantic chemistry between Maddie and Danny but nothing is taken too far. We don’t see them suddenly fall in love and we certainly don’t see Danny caring for anything more than himself.
Danny and Solomon is a very contrasting pairing. Solomon is a gentle fisherman who would do anything for anyone but especially his family. He thinks of others first but is also very strong willed from growing up in this war torn country. This stark difference creates a great and captivating story and shows they really put a lot of thought into the scripting and character development.
I could keep talking about this film forever but I had better wind it down. There is just one more thing I want to touch on first and that is the music. I am OBSESSED with this movie score. The score was created by James Newton Howard(love his work!), and fits perfectly with this film. He uses African sounds, drums, singers and weaves them seamlessly into movie score, orchestral music. Not only is it very fitting but it is one of those scores that creates chills when you hear a certain piece paired with a scene. My favourite piece of music is this.
Let me know your thoughts and ideas on the film, lets start a discussion in the comments! If you haven’t already seen this film, you need to go and do that now!