DIRECTOR: Edward Zwick
May Contain Spoilers!
Ever since Glory in 1989, Edward Zwick has made his name directing big issue, historical dramas, granted that this, set in Sierra Leone in 1999, is hardly historical in strictest sense of the word. Blood Diamond follows Leonardo DiCaprio’s, Zimbabwean diamond smuggler/mercenary as he pursues one of the largest diamonds ever discovered, but hidden, by Djimon Hounsou, who had been captured and used as a slave by the revolutionary forces, the RUF.
But in an acknowledgment by the international community that conflict diamond, or diamonds which are mined in war zones, are the cause of suffering and forced labour etc…, they were outlawed at the turn of the 21st century.
The story is fictional but the setting is far from so, as we see the civil war erupted in Sierra Leone through the eyes of Decaprio, Hounsou and Jennifer Connelly’s U.S. reporter, all of whom end up on a journey through the country. Besides Blood Diamonds, the other issues which is quite chillingly dealt with are the refugee camps and the horrors which exist within the barbed wire and the child solider’s, who are being taken from their families and brainwashed by the Warlords.
In short, there’s a lot going on here and this is certainly a decent effort to explain the complex situations of African civil wars and the economic factors surrounding Tiffany’s suppliers, but Zwick fails to keep his hands on reins in as much as he needs to keep this as interesting as it could be. I feel that Lord Of War achieved a lot of what this film was after, but in a more successful way.
That’s not say that this is not interesting, or even exiting in parts, but it’s not quite sure whether it’s an action adventure or a hard-hitting political essay. The characters are entertaining and likeable, but the surroundings are horrific and show a number of atrocities, many against women and children, but that’s not the problem. The problem is that the pacing slows intermittently throughout and certainly after a strong opening 45 minutes, the action slows to a predictable crawl, and towards the and, a trait of Zwick, the finale simply takes two long and is drawn out beyond any emotional effect.
It’s hearts in the right place and the action and characters work well, but it’s mainly let down by quite frankly, getting a little boring in the middle. But well worth a watch and like most of Zwick’s work, will teach you something that you didn’t know, though don’t take it too seriously as in the end, it’s is just work of fiction set amidst the chaos of some of the world’s most beautiful yet horrific environments.