- Danny Archer: like Jack Sparrow, in a way. No, really, they’re both wickedly smart mercenaries who play both sides of the fence to get what they want but do have a moral compass buried in there somewhere amongst all the shameless self-centredness. The accent Leo put on wasn’t distracting the way I worried it would be; I died pretty much every time he’d say “Yah, yah”, heh. I think they got around the issue of whether or not it would sound like a convincing South African accent by having his character grow up initially in Zimbabwe (or, as he prefers, Rhodesia) before ending up in South Africa and then elsewhere, so they can blame any inconsistencies on picking up regional accents as he grew up or something. I don’t think this was his best performance to date (I’m still going with The Aviator on that one), but Leo was still very excellent anyway. He’s like Gary Oldman and Samuel L. Jackson: his presence in an otherwise average film really does much to improve it.
Y HALLO THERE, LEO’S ARMS. Oh, for those keeping track of these things (and I certainly do), you only get one short scene in which Leo has his shirt off.
- I couldn’t help but think of my favourite part of The Beach whenever they were running around in the jungle trying to remain undetected.
- Some people might find it to be slightly anti-American in spots, since they point out multiple times how 2/3 of the world’s diamonds are bought by Americans and how their consumption helps to perpetuate the cycle of conflict. I don’t think it’s anti-Americanism so much as it is anti-unnecessary consumerism. At the end of the film in the closing titles they did make a point of saying that it’s up to the consumer to ensure that they’re insist on only purchasing conflict free diamonds*, which can indeed be done. There’s a line at one point where someone says that if people knew that kids lose their hands over the conflict for these diamonds, that no one would ever buy diamond rings. I’m not sure they could be any less subtle if they subtitled this conversation with “You’ve got blood on your hands, dumbass” but I suppose it’s a valid point. I suppose that could seem rather preachy, but since I have never had any interest in diamond jewelry myself and pretty much point blank refuse to ever wear any diamond jewelry (because, you know, people are giving it to me ALL THE TIME *eyeroll*), I don’t have much of a problem with it.
*I hear the only ones that are 100% conflict free are diamonds found in the Canadian arctic. Go us.
- I keep seeing this movie being referred to as an action flick or that it’s been done to maximize on entertainment, but it’s not and I have no idea where people are getting this idea. The violence and car chases and explosions and gratuitous deaths aren’t there to excite you or look cool; it’s all very, very disturbing and really fairly gruesome. It’s a lot like modern war films, which makes sense since it basically depicts a civil war. It just makes you sort of sick to see these groups of rebels piled twelve deep in trucks drive into villages and shoot all the inhabitants, and the ones they don’t shoot they train as child fighters. Ugh. Jennifer Connelly’s character made a point that you never see any of this on CNN, which is true enough, so it’s sort of sad that it takes a movie to put a ficitonalized account of it on screen where people will see it.
- I’m glad Danny and Maddy didn’t ever get to have sex, that really would have ruined the entire movie. As it was, the bit where he nearly started crying after telling her about the death of his parents sort of made me die a bit, and not in a good way. Keep the sentimental tacky crap out of this, plz.
- Is it just me, or does Leo seem to choose a lot of roles where he dies at the end? Who does he think he is, Gary Oldman? [Well, that would be okay if he thought he was.]
- Djimon Hounsou had a really, really strong performance and was pretty much the only character that had a blatant moral code to live by. I think the moment where he has to pretend to be a camera man is meant to be comedic, but it’s actually really rather tragic because he really can’t stand that he’s being forced to lie about something so freaking mundane.
- I get annoyed by weird stylistic things they do to indicate that someone is taking a photograph. Jennifer Connelly’s constantly taking photographs and every time she takes a shot, there’s a momentary black and white still on the screen of the “shot” she captured. Why on earth would this woman be using black and white film? It’s certainly not cheap and I’m willing to bet it’s not terribly easy to get in remote areas of Africa.
- Whatever you do, if you go see this movie make a point of leaving right as soon as the credits start to roll because they play the worst song imaginable. I have no idea who it’s by or why they thought it was a good idea to include, but basically it’s a rap song about blood diamonds that was probably commissioned explicitly for the purpose of playing during the end credits and it’s horrendous. Oh, wow, it’s so bad. Any political and moral successes the movie may have had are practically washed away by how completely and utterly ridiculous this song makes the issues sound. Way to shoot yourself in the foot there, guys.
- Also, I’m really naive so I never really consider the lengths people go to get away with doing things like smuggling diamonds. Leo’s going with some goat herders to cross the border into Liberia, where the diamonds he’s smuggling can be sold legally and their origin erased. They get stopped on the way and they find the diamonds in the goat. Not up the goat’s ass, mind you (that was my first thought), but sewn in under the skin. Later on, after all his diamonds have been confiscated and Leo gets out of jail, they show him removing the one diamond they couldn’t take for him: he’s placed it inside a false tooth that he’s had embedded in his mouth. Wow.
Categories: 3 Stars