Friday, April 25, 2008

For the love of Leo...

*warning: this post contains spoilers related to the movie Blood Diamond*

Dude, where's my car?

Last night I had a conversation with someone about the movie Blood Diamond. He explained he didn't enjoy the film because he didn't feel anything for Leonardo DiCaprio's character Danny Archer. I was astounded to hear this. Not only has Leo more than proven himself on the big screen, he did so in this film with what some Africans call a flawless Rhodesian accent.

In the movie, Danny Archer is a bad guy who tries to trick a local Sierra Leone man, played by Djimon Hounsou, into giving up the location of a priceless blood diamond. The film's title has a double meaning which comes to light when the film delves into the international black market diamond trade. It begins with kidnapped children mining for diamonds and ends with the precious stones on the ears or necks of the rich and famous.

Blood Diamond is a movie where every element just seems to work. The material is dark and the journey is long and harrowing for the title characters, yet somehow you never totally lose hope that the situation can be resolved. DiCaprio's portrayal of the loose moralled Danny holds the film together like the centerpiece of a bridge, where if removed everything might collapse around him. The character definitely is difficult to feel for so my friend wasn't wrong there, however his ultimate redemption via sacrifice completely changes your original assumptions.

I think it's very difficult to watch a movie so packed with drama, dedicated actors and real-life horror and not become emotionally involved. It's also comforting to see someone I've believed in ever since they played a homeless boy on TV's Growing Pains become universally recognized as a solid male lead.

I'm not sure why some people can't watch a movie like Blood Diamond and relate to it on some level. Perhaps the atrocities of real life and the ultimate evil human beings are capable of is just so hard to accept, even from a film. I always count myself lucky I watch these things from a comfortable cinema seat in the safety of my Westernized life, yet that instability of human behavior is always there creeping in at the edges pushing me not to ignore what's happening around me. Globalization might have helped fuel the need for diamonds in the world yet it's also helping those of us who care to monitor, control and even stop those of us who are turned into monsters by such temptations.

I give Blood Diamond 4.5/5 Stars. I believe it is a poignant film and one which is so expertly crafted, it's message isn't lost in the process.

More about Blood Diamond (out now on DVD)

More about buying conflict-free diamonds


efrain said...

although i did enjoy it more than i thought i would, i didn't think the movie was that brilliant. I related to the drama/story and i liked the message of Danny Archer's love/hate for his country and his "sacrifice" in the end. But for some reason, I didn't feel a heartstring-pulling sympathy for Danny. I don't know if it was the performance but something hindered me from truly relating for him on a deeper level. but i still liked the movie in general.

dorianhunter said...

Thanks for this great review! I agree with you 100%. Leo is such a brilliant actor, and I love him all the way *sigh*! Also Djimon Hounsou gives a remarkable performance in this movie. The message is a very important one still today.

Jen Reviews Movies said...

Hey thanks for the comments! efrain: I think in some way, the film makers wanted you to not fee for Danny. They were using him as a symbol and a plot device, but I still couldn't help it :) dorianhunter: I think if a film is entertaining and well made PLUS has a good message, it's value is unfathomable. Thanks again for taking the time to read my blog and commenting! It means a lot to me.