Monday, April 27, 2009
Blood Diamond. Feature film. (2006, 143 mins) IMDB
n the West African nation of Sierra Leone you can find diamonds. Control the diamonds and you control the income that comes from selling them. With the money from selling diamonds and you can fund an army to maintain control over the diamonds and continue the cycle.
Having lived in West Africa, I can related to what is shown in this film. It is dangerous place even when civil war isn't breaking out.
Solomon is a fisherman trying to provide for his family. He wants his son to do well in school. His world is turned upside down when rebel forces attack his village. What is shown is gruesome. Sick even. The villagers are shot with AK-47s. Those who survive are tortured and mutilated. I'll never fully understand who people can do this and while the film tries to answer that question, I don't think it can.
Solomon, because he is fit and able, is taken from the village to a diamond mining operation. He, along with many others, sift through mud in a river to find diamonds. One person tries to steal a diamond, is found out and shot.
Many civilians are shot in this movie.
While sifting through the river, Solomon finds a large, pink diamond. He conceals it, buries it, but is found out. When the sadistic rebel leader is about to kill Solomon, a government attack comes. Some are killed and many are rounded up and taken to a Freetown prison. Needless to say, this prison is no hotel.
It's in prison where Solomon meets Danny Archer. A white African who is involved in smuggling diamonds to Liberia, who traffics in guns for rebels or whoever can afford them and is essentially a mercenary. He's a piece of work. When he learns Solomon stole a large diamond, one that may be priceless, Archer attaches onto Solomon in order to get the diamond. It's his ticket out of Africa.
Then there's the third major character. Maddy has come from the US to write about the civil war and conflict diamonds. Since Archer knows inside secrets, she wants to pick his brain but wont' help that is until he needs something from her.
Since they left prison, the rebels have invaded the capital and taken over. The country is in anarchy. She can travel to places as journalist. The two of them tag along as "journalists."
The film is filled with intense battles. The rebels raiding villages, invading Freetown. Attacks by government troops. Attacks from mercenaries. It all gives a framework in which our three central characters are fighting for their lives. Archer shows why he survived so many years in Africa. He knows how to kill.
I found myself completely caught up in this film. The many situations where it was life and death for our heroes were many and real. Intense. I kept thinking I'm glad I'm not going through that. I've been there and at my age, I don't think I'd want to go back. It gives me nightmares where I'm hunted and trapped.
The film also reminded me I wouldn't buy diamonds even if I knew they came from Canada as many do. I don't like jewellery. I don't like wearing rings. Why are people so superficial about diamonds and "bling." That's something else I don't get. I see NBA stars with 1 carat diamond studs sticking out of their lobes and wonder what doesn't go through their heads.
Posted 2009/04/27 at 20h12ET in Movie Commentary.