Friday, December 15, 2006

Blood Diamond

"Blood Diamond" presents itself as a serious "Romancing The Stone". It's a decent enough action adventure but it features stock characters in a film that tries to hard to be an important message movie. Leonardo DeCaprio is the hardened diamond smuggler out to find the rare "Blood Diamond" discovered and hidden by Djimon Hounsou. Hounsou plays the proud fisherman kidnapped from his family by the evil rebels and forced to work in the conflict diamond mines. Rounding out this African "Mod Squad" is Jennifer Connelly as a reporter who wants the story and of course, falls for DeCaprio. The acting is solid especially from Hounsou (who's always good) but the script contains too much silly dialog and too many repetitive chase scenes.

Through a series of well timed escapes, the two men join together when DeCaprio promises to help Hounsou find his family if they split the profits from the diamond. Connelly's character exists only to awaken DeCaprio's conscience and provide commentary about "conflict" diamonds and their horrible impact on the people of Africa. Since the film takes place in 1999 and conditions have changed now in Sierre Leone, part of the message is moot but questions are still raised. While accords have been signed and "conflict" diamonds are only a small percentage now of the World Diamond trade, one can only look at our own diamond jewelry and wonder where those diamonds came from. Genocide still exist today in parts of Africa but "Blood Diamond" was released as holiday entertainment, so we are more concerned if DeCaprio gets his diamond, Hounsou reunites with his family, and Connelly gets her story.

Additional editing would have made for a better film. Cutting down on those endless chase scenes would have saved time for more emoting from Hounsou or silly dialog from DeCaprio. Save "Blood Diamond" for DVD and for a real important message, read about what's happening now in Darfur.

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