Sunday, January 14, 2007

Blood Diamond

This is a great, but harrowing, movie. I'd give it more than the 60% it's getting on Rotten Tomatoes - my own score would be closer to 80%.

The Good:
  • Leonardo nails the South African/Zimbabwean accent, and gives one of his best performances
  • Djimon Hounsou gives a solid performance
  • For the most part it's gripping and beautifully filmed
  • It's packed full of action and violence, but it's not mindless violence. The film has a message, and while it may be a bit heavy-handed and one-sided in trying to convince you of that message, any film that makes you think is a good thing
  • Jennifer Connely is really easy on the eyes

The Bad:

  • Jennifer's character is not quite convincing - partly due to poor writing, and partly due to her acting
  • The disregard Djimon's character shows for this wife and children after leaving them at a refuge camp to search for his son makes no sense. Lenoardo's character even remarks that the wife and daugher are likely to be raped in the camp, which gets no reaction from Djimon's character. He needs to find his son. The women folk don't seem to be worth a pile of beans...
  • The movie was a little flabby - some scenes could have been cut without losing any of the plot or character development
  • Some of the child soldier scenes wore thin. Yes, I know they exist, and child sodliers were part of the conflict in Sierra Leone, but the movie couldn't quite carry this in addition to the "diamonds are bad" message
Side Notes:

I got a kick out of seeing a lot of familiar South African actors - Arnold Vosloo and Marius Weyers are baddies again (they've been in a few US films and are always cast as baddies), and Jonathan Pienaar has a small role too. (I saw him act on stage when I was younger).

I also chuckled when I realized where the final scene was filmed - at the Centre for the Book in Cape Town. I remember serving snacks and pouring drinks there when my mom provided the in-house catering there. :)

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