Friday, January 26, 2007

Review: Blood Diamond

Last week I went to see Blood Diamond, and I've had a half-written review sitting in my draft posts since then. Ah, procrastination!

I never understand the kind of reviews Blood Diamond got, which are typical reviews that roll out for movies of this kind. The review goes: this is a bad movie because it makes you think too much, and has a clear message that it wants you to take away. I know what they're getting at, but is this such a bad thing? Is it bad for a movie's story to want to show you certain things, lead you to certain conclusions? Why is it so bad if a movie illicits feelings of guilt or responsibility for us? God forbid! God forbid a movie inspire us to action or changed behavior or even just new knowledge... Movies in particular that give us a look at anything going on in Africa are few and far between, so I will take one and the message that comes with it when I can.

This movie was excellent and moving and horrifying, horrifying because the things portrayed, while not autobiographical of anyone in particular, are based on fact. Particularly startling are scenes that look at child soldiers and the lives children endure in such tumultuous locations. Appalling.

Leonardo DiCaprio, Djimon Hounsou, and Jennifer Connelly star in Blood Diamond. DiCaprio continues to impress me with his acting. He just seems so natural in such varying roles. Hounsou is also excellent and he communicates so much with his facial expressions. Connelly has never been a favorite of mine - I've always thought she was a bit overrated, except, of course, in Labyrinth. I thought in the first scenes she was in in this film that I wasn't going to like her character - she was a bit stiff in her delivery. But by the end of the film, she really grew on me.

The plot of the movie is predictable, I guess you could say. But in a movie like this, I'm not sure an intriguing plot is the point. The point is to show you something you haven't seen. And in that, the movie was successful and compelling. I was reminded of how closed our eyes are to things that are going on across the ocean. And I don't think we want to see it - so maybe, in a small way, this movie helps.
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