Diamonds are forever, but sometimes they’re washed in blood. Blood Diamond is about the diamond trade in Africa and conflict diamonds–diamonds that are mined from countries that are torn by conflict.
The diamonds are smuggled into legitimate countries, where they’re presented as legitimate diamonds. The money that exchanges hands is used to fund the conflicts and buy weapons.
Leonardo Di Caprio plays a diamond smuggler with ties to a South African Colonel who helps him trade in conflict diamonds. Djimon Hounsou is the fisherman in Sierra Leone who is captured by the rebels and who loses his family in the process. Hounsou finds a rare pink diamond when he’s working in the mines and decides to keep it.
He gets captured by the government troops when they attack the camp, but the captured rebel commander remembers him and threatens to get the diamond back. Di Caprio, in the meanwhile, learns about the pink diamond and figures that it’s his ticket out of Africa.
Jennifer Connelly plays a journalist who’s interested exposing the dirty trade of conflict diamonds and she gets entwined with Di Caprio and Hounsou. Hounsou’s motivation is to get his family back and when he discovers that his son is missing, he can think of nothing else. The son, in the meanwhile, has been captured by the rebel commander, who takes him under his wing and trains him in the use of weapons.
Will Hounsou get his son back? Will Di Caprio get out of Africa? What will happen to the pink diamond? These are the questions that the climax of the movie answers.
The movie is superb on so many levels. The acting by Di Caprio, Hounsou, and Connelly is sublime. The script is tight and manages to keep your attention throughout the movie. The scenes are powerful and the human element and the horror is brought out beautifully. This is not a movie for children because some of the scenes are shocking.
Kudos to Edward Zwick for making a movie that’s gripping and puts a spotlight on a negative aspect of the diamond trade. You never get a feeling that the movie’s preaching to you and yet the message gets through.