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Dec 9, 2006

Fletch's Film Review: Blood Diamond

Saw Blood Diamond Friday night. 10:20 pm show, theater mostly empty. Odd sight of the night for Mrs. Fletch and I was a pair of women (girls?). Despite the 50-60 degree temperature outside (and not entirely much warmer inside), one of them was apparently wearing a bustier. Either that, or a halter top. Breasts were flowing forth, noticeable from some 40 feet away. Strange sight, and to boot, upon the roll of the credits, she put on a sweater. Aren't most people cold in movie theaters?

Anyhow...on to the film. DiCaprio. Hounsou. Connelly. Vosloo. Yeah, it was nice to see "the Mummy" again. The film, however, wasn't so nice to see. "Requiem for a Dream" seems somewhat cheery in comparison.

Djimon Hounsou plays a fisherman from Sierra Leone whose life is literally turned upside down. Diamond mining and smuggling are intermingled with civil war with tragic results. Hounsou is seperated from his family and forced to work in a mining camp; meanwhile, his wife and children become refugees, with his son later being kidnapped by the same type of revolutionaries that have imprisoned him.

Toss in myriad scenes of his son being brainwashed and forced to kill innocents like his family, mix in DiCaprio's smuggler and Connelly's journalist and you get a quasi-political action thriller that can't make up it's mind as to whether or not it wants to be a serious drama, a "Jewel of the Nile" style chase flick, or "Rambo" with diamonds. Oh, and 10 year-old, crack smoking, machine-gun toting children. Fun stuff.

Edward Zwick, of Glory, Legends of the Fall, and The Last Samurai fame, directs. And he does a good job with DiCaprio, whose stuck with a morally vague role, playing both the evil smuggler and the white knight at the same time. Throw in a South African accent and you've got some tough shoes to wear. Connelly's role is pretty thankless and her talents are pretty much wasted. Hounsou is good as usual, though I'd really like to see him in a comedy for god's sake - with his model looks, sad eyes, heavy accent and dark complexion, he can't seem to get out of these martyr roles. Even drivel like The Island is a step in the right direction. As usual, he does a solid job and I hope to see more of him in the future.

But the actors can't save what ultimately is a flawed, if earnest, movie. The anti-diamond industry message is made loud and clear, with everyone from Tony Blair lookalikes to American consumers to DiCaprio himself painted as evildoers. I just wish it could have picked a genre (or two) and stuck with it.

68 out of 100

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