This isn't a good film, this is a great film. When you drop your bum into that theater seat, you had better buckle up because you are about go on a visual ride of the likes you will never find at any amusement park.
The film is first a story of mans values, or lack of them. Blood diamonds or Conflict diamonds, call them what you wish. Diamonds mined at the expense of human lives and misery. A good story that seems to scream the word "reality". You can be assured that no representative of the diamond cartel, De Beers is likely to be quoted, "Yes, this film accurately portrays the way we do business, we will lie, cheat, and manipulate any international mandates, just give us the stones." There would no, "Well, yes some poor people get killed, and we have to support a few wars, but, that's the price of doing business." Nope, you aren't going to hear that from anyone in the gem buying business. So, look at the film and make your own decisions as to what's true and what is a just a piece of the screenwriter's fancy.
But, do go see the film. Make no mistake, political thriller may have been the intent of director, Edward Zwick (The Last Samurai), but what I witnessed was a full on "kick you the gut", edge of your seat action film. This film never slows down for a moment other than the few romantic interludes between Leonardo Di Caprio and Jennifer Connelly.
Like Mel Gibson's, Apolcalypto, this film is certainly not for the squeamish, violent death, dismemberment, gore and buckets of blood abound.
Shot in South Africa, ironically the home of diamond giant, De Beers, the cinematography is nothing less than top of the line. It's a lush country and the filmmakers have taken every advantage of the real life canvas South Africa provides. This is not a film to be seen on a small screen.
The performances are first rate. Leonardo Di Caprio's portrayal of Danny Archer, ex-Zimbabwean, (although he refers to himself as Rhodesian) soldier of fortune and now diamond smuggler, smells like an Oscar nomination for Best Actor to me. Djimon Hounsou, (The Island, Gladiator) as Solomon Vandy, the fisherman turned diamond miner performs magnificently. Jennifer Connelly, as an American journalist, who is soon to be the mandatory love interest carries her role extremely well.
I am not a big fan of film reviews that tell you the entire story and then dissect it scene by scene. So, just go see the movie, I don't think you will be disappointed.
Bring the big box of tissues, I cried.
As a side note to this missive, I felt some connection to the film in a weird kind of way. In 1988, financial decisions were made and I produced a film in South Africa, "The Howling IV". Apartheid was in full swing and Nelson Mandella was a involuntary guest in a stockade on Robben Island off of Cape town. Of all the countries I have shot films in, including Communist Czechoslovakia and Hungary, South Africa, at that time, was one nasty piece of real estate. Even today, I get chills when I think about the five or so months I spent there. I will have to write about that one day.
WORLD - CULTURE
Copyright © 2010 Steven Lane
Copyright © 2010 Steven Lane
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