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Blood Diamond (2006)
The sort of film you live for
Last year saw the arrival of a fantastic film about the western worlds exploitation of Africa within the medical industry, "The Constant Gardener". Some years before that "Hotel Rwanda" left an unforgettable impression in its depiction of the genocide in Rwanda, an atrocity as horrible as the holocaust, and raised the question of how the United Nations and the rest of the world could turn a blind eye to such a mass-slaughter.
This year "Blood Diamond" raises issues of the western worlds exploitation of Africa by focusing on Sierra Leone and its diamond fields. The film also manages to show the sociological effects of such an exploitation, whether it is in the form of civil war, child- soldiers or prostitution. At the same time, it has a very engaging and thrilling storyline.
Djimon Hounsou plays a farmer who is captured by rebels in Sierra Leone to work in the diamond fields. There he finds a big diamond and manages to hide it, just before he is taken to prison. In prison he meets Leonardo DiCaprio's smuggler, and together they embark on a journey to retrieve the diamond, but both have a different, and at times contra productive agenda. Jennifer Connelly plays a reporter who teams up with them in order to get a story.
Sounds like Indiana Jones/The Jewel of the Nile? Nothing could be further from the truth! This is a political thriller that manages to raise important issues without ever becoming melodramatical or "Hollywood-ish".
DiCaprio proves once and for all that he is by far the person most worthy to be labeled "The New Brando", this is his best performance to date! Hounsou is a character actor of the highest caliber, never hitting a false note in his performance of a man torn apart, trying to maintain some control. And Jennifer Connelly finally does something to deserve that free Oscar she received for "A Beautiful Mind". She is absolutely amazing, and so are the rest of the cast, down to the extras! The photo is probably the best in the history of film in this sort of genre, beating its predecessors "Apocalypse Now" and "Full Metal Jacket".
This film will probably not win any of the major Oscars, "The Departed" seems to be going in that direction. But pneumatically, this is by far the superior one of them two, and the best film of the year. I even dare to say this is the best American film of the millennium so far! Extra: Even though this film has scenes as powerful as anything in film history, my favorite has to be the very subtle sequence with the child soldiers playing cards, and there's a TV in the background showing a "Bling-Bling" rap video. I just love the paradox of these so called rappers who always brag about being proud Africans, when at the same time they measure their success in the diamonds that is the cause of the slaughtering of millions of the same people they claim to be part of. How brilliant!