Having just seen Blood Diamond last night, my conscience has been shaken and stirred. I knew it would be about the diamond trade, but I had little idea of how much brutality, savagery and deaths happen in order to get the diamonds we get today at the market.
Djimon Honsou plays Solomon, a family man earning his livelihood as a fisherman, living peacefully in his village in Sierra Leone, till the day the anti-government forces come and kill the people, rape the women, kidnap strong men to work for them in the rivers panning for diamonds, and abducting young boys to brainwash them, hand them a gun and develop them into killing forces themselves. Solomon is separated from his family. His son is taken by the anti-government forces and brainwashed. Solomon ends up in the jungle, where Danny Archer (Leo DiCaprio) hears about the rare diamond Solomon has found in the river and dug it deep in the jungle. Danny, a Zimbabwean diamond mercenary, seeks to befriend Solomon so he can get to the Diamond. Danny encounters Maddy, who is a tough nut American journalist wanting to get her report on an expose on the illegal diamond trade, wanting to reveal the diamond company back home with a name that resembles De Beers.
It’s a very gritty movie, especially when you see how families are killed, children abducted and turned into child soldiers and the number of people dying only to get the diamonds to the first world countries. All three principal characters are so well played out, it was a treat to watch them, especially Leo DiCaprio with his South African accent, playing a selfish and amoral character, pondering over whether God has left the country because of so many senseless killings, and that too of his own parents. However, the real star of this movie is the nation of Africa itself. Despite being so much killing, Africa still one of the most beautiful landscapes, and people, in this world. I know that because I have a huge fondness for the nation of Kenya.
Blood Diamond will open up your eyes to the reality of the situation, and makes you wonder about the diamond you may be wearing, or the diamond you are thinking of purchasing, or the diamond you may have been given as a gift. The movie simply wants to ask the audience not to stop buying diamonds all together, but to question whether the diamond is from a conflict zone or not. I was a little bit concerned with the audience at the near ful house theatre as to why they were getting up and leaving before the movie ended. Did they not want to read the epilogue statements? Did this movie not affect them? Will they question the idea that the diamonds that are being sold here conflict diamonds or not?
Since I am an environmentalist at heart, Blood Diamond is now one of my highly recommended movies now. Following An Inconvenient Truth that made Global Warming a household name, Blood Diamond has certainly ruffled the feathers of the diamond industry, where the high up officials have quickly made press statements assuring its buyers that their diamonds are conflict free. Leo DiCaprio himself is an environmentalist and has created a website as well.
I for one am glad this movie was made, and more movies like this should be made to create awareness for the public of the damage we all are creating in destroying the environment.