In the 1990’s, Solomon Vandy (played by Djimon Hounsou) lives in Sierra Leone on the war torn Ivory Coast of Africa with his wife, son and two young daughters. He is a Mende tribesman and they live in a small village where he ekes out an existence as a fisherman. His life is shattered when troops destroy his village and he is taken from his family and forced to work in the diamond fields. His family is torn apart and he has no idea what has happened to them. One day, whilst labouring in the diamond fields, he discovers a huge blood diamond and manages to hide it, but the soldiers know he has it and throw him in prison until he weakens enough to tell them where. In the same prison, South African mercenary Danny Archer (by Leonardo DiCaprio) is serving time for smuggling. He discovers Solomon’s secret and sets out to get the diamond for himself. Although both men are African, they have vastly different motivations and reasons to get their hands on the precious stone. Against the horror of the civil war, military cruelty and the chaos of smuggling and greed, they are forced together in the quest to return to the spot where Solomon can retrieve the diamond. Several times they encounter beautiful American journalist Maddy Bowen (by Jennifer Connelly), who is courageous but an idealist and although she antagonises Archer, she also fascinates him, stirring feelings he hasn’t known before. As she spends more time with Solomon and Archer, Maddy learns about the politics, deep history and passion in Africa and the fight for the diamonds and independence. All Solomon wants to do is find out what’s happened to his family, but Archer just wants to get the diamond ……….. can they make it back alive to get the diamond? and will Solomon eventually find out what has happened to his family?
I never used to rate Leonardo Di Caprio as an actor as I had only seen some of his lightweight performances. But this movie demonstrates his breadth and depth of talent. He is very strong, as is Djimon Hounsou. They were both nominated for an Academy Award (Oscar) for their work in this movie. Their performances are punctuated with grit, passion and utter determination for the causes that each of them live for. They both do very well. Jennifer Connelly is stunningly beautiful and she puts in a good performance as the feisty and strong willed Maddy Bowen. There are also support performances (but small ones) from Michael Sheen and Stephen Collins. The young actor Kagiso Kuypers, who plays Solomon’s son Dia is excellent. It’s a good, action movie and it doesn’t quite end in the way you expect. It’s probably a little too long, but overall it’s pretty good.
Made in 2006. Directed by Edward Zwick