Blood Diamond (R)

Action/Adventure 138 December 8, 2006
By Nathan Lee
Directed by Edward Zwick (The Last Samurai) from a screenplay by the author of that legendary sociopolitical treatise K-PAX (Charles Leavitt), Blood Diamond assembles three refugees from central casting around the quest for an egg-sized pink diamond in Sierra Leone. When rebels rampage through his village, Solomon (Djimon Hounsou) is wrenched from his family, put to work mining diamonds. On the job, Solomon retrieves the rock and sets about hiding it when government soldiers bust in and cart everyone off to jail. Word of the diamond soon reaches Danny (Leonardo DiCaprio), himself imprisoned for the possession of criminally ridiculous blond highlights, and a scheme is hatched to get rich or die trying. The holy trinity of African adventure-flick clichés -- the amoral mercenary, the righteous native, the idealistic reporter -- is soon completed by the arrival of Maddy (Jennifer Connelly), a foxy idealist reporting on the blood diamond trade for an American newsweekly. Soon everyone heads off into the picturesque jungles, slums, and refugee camps of war-torn Sierra Leone, where endless stretches of witless torpor are interrupted by jarring assaults of violence. It's remarkable that a movie presumably opposed to Western exploitation of Africa exhibits a heartbeat only when slaughtering its anonymous, dark-skinned extras.
Edward Zwick Leonardo DiCaprio, Djimon Hounsou, Jennifer Connelly, James Purefoy, Arnold Vosloo, Stephen Collins, Michael Sheen, Ato Essandoh, David Harewood, Caruso Kuypers Charles Leavitt, C. Gaby Mitchell, Marshall Herskovitz, Edward Zwick Len Amato, Gillian Gorfil, Marshall Herskovitz, Graham King, Darrell Roodt Warner Bros. Pictures