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An ex-mercenary turned smuggler (Leonardo DiCaprio). A Mende fisherman (Djimon Hounsou). Amid the explosive civil war overtaking 1999 Sierra Leone, these men join for two desperate missions: recovering a rare pink diamond of immense value and rescuing the fisherman's son, conscripted as a child soldier into the brutal rebel forces ripping a swath of torture and bloodshed across the alternately beautiful and ravaged countryside. Directed by Edward Zwick (Glory, The Last Samurai), this urgent, intensely moving adventure shapes gripping human stories and heart-pounding action into a modern epic of profound impact.
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I avoided watching this movie in full for a long time. Unlike most people, I'm vaguely familiar with the concept of blood diamonds (and other conflict-related trades) and I tend to not enjoy war/political related films to begin with; they can be mundane (and not to mention, hard to follow) and they, to be quite honest, can sometimes feel like a waste of time. After viewing this in full however, I will say -this is a film worth watching regardless of your political affiliations or opinions.
I am a fan of all things controversial, and this film is riddled with concepts and moments that are discomforting when not expected. The violence in this movie is non-stop (and is also mostly uncensored). The
audience witnesses children being kidnapped and forcibly trained to use guns to kill targets at will. There are scenes where drug use is both explicit and alluded to - and, again, children young enough to be in grade school tend to be involved in this kind of activity. For some people this might be a deterrence, but if you're anything like me it's intriguing and ends up demanding the audience to stay engaged.
Building on this last point, the violence in this movie is seemingly never-ending; at times it feels random, but its shown to be very systematic through the use of brief conversations and interactions the characters have with one-another. The best part about the use of violence in this film, however, is how often it is used to /interrupt/ scenes meant to be evoke a sense of peace and order. The violence feels as chaotic for the audience as it does for the characters in the film, and it pulls out a sense of empathy that would otherwise be based purely off of shock-value; nothing about this movie is comfortable to watch (and, it shouldn't be) and the feeling of dread of what might happen next is nothing short of ingenious.
It goes without saying that the acting in this film was damn-near flawless. Djimon Hounsou won an at least 3 awards for best supporting actor for his role - and it was more than well deserved. The emotional range of his character is appropriate given the subject matter, and his performance is as powerful as it is convincing.
DiCaprio's acting is as authentic as usual (paired with an accent that feels legitimate), and I would say this is one of his best performances of his entire career.
My only criticism is this - by the end of the movie, I don't feel as an audience member any better at identifying diamonds that can potentially make me complicit in contributing to this system of violence and chaos. The film ends with a meeting in which the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme was created to restrict the flow of conflict diamonds in the main market, but the film doesn't let the audience know that the success of this meeting is controversial. At the end of the day, it's still up to the buyer to ensure that any diamonds they may or may not purchase don't contribute to any of the actions seen in this film - and a little reminder of that would have sufficed. It doesn't take away from the overall message of this movie, but it would have taken this film just a few steps further in to the right (and morally correct) direction.
A hard watch, but an important one.
I would recommend!
The depiction of the forced recruitment of child soldiers is probably the best ever captured on screen.
Top international reviews
Received this DVD promptly. Absolutely recommend this movie
Very happy with the seller received DVD promptly. Thank you
very enjoyable none the less.