oscar rodeo: blood diamond

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Blood Diamond got five nominations, but two were for Sound Editing and Sound Mixing. That means it's getting the Oscar Rodeo equivalent of eight seconds in the ring.

The movie opens with a series of titles explaining civil war and the diamond trade in Sierra Leone, so you know this is going to be an Important Film. The titles continue so long, I half-expected them to segue into, "Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base..."

Djimon Hounsou is a fisherman who gets separated from his family when rebels attack his village in Sierra Leone. Captured by rebels, he finds and huge diamond and manages to conceal it. A South African mercenary and diamond smuggler, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, partners with him uneasily, in hopes of retrieving the stone. Meanwhile, Jennifer Connelly is writing a news story about blood diamonds, and Hounsou's young son gets kidnapped into a rebel militia.

For a message movie, Blood Diamond is surprisingly entertaining. Its desire to expose the evils of the diamond trade and show the world of child slavery perhaps make the movie overlong, but the movie is never ponderous. However, many of the military battles aren't compelling. When rebel forces (full of children) fight army troops, our heroes primarily run for cover. The audience doesn't know who's fighting most of the time, and as such, we have no rooting interest.

I think Leo is really good in this movie. He's like a cross between John Rambo, Indiana Jones, and Tom Shane. Leo's accent is questionable, but I think he primarily has trouble with the letter "r". When he has to spell his name, "Danny Archer", the accent slips noticeably. However, he is very convincing firing a gun, and he's fun to watch, even while approximately 5200 bullets are fired at him over the course of the movie, along with 9-10 rockets.

The filmmakers not only go after fake DeBeers (Van de Kaap), they take shots at American women. Connelly insists that "not all American girls want a storybook wedding", and in another scene scoffs that American men have to spend three months' salary for these evil goods. Yet another character insists, "People back home wouldn't buy a ring if they knew." You hear that, ladies?

Djimon Hounsou got a nomination for demanding the location and return of his son more forcefully than anyone since Harold Perrineau in the second season of Lost, maybe since Mel Gibson in Ransom.

The end titles reassure us that Sierra Leone is not at peace. Then, after the whole plot revolved various methods of smuggling conflict diamonds to make them undetectable, the end titles inform us that, ultimately, avoiding blood diamonds is "up to the consumer". You hear that, ladies?

Blood Diamond is going to win zero Oscars, but I'm curious to see what effect, if any, it has on the jewelry on display at the awards. I'm guessing, no effect whatsoever.

Here is a terrible line: "In America, it's bling bling. But out here it's bling bang."

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Keane published on February 25, 2007 9:17 AM.

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