Blood Diamond

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Blood Diamond
Blooddiamondposter.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byEdward Zwick
Written byCharles Leavitt
Story by
  • Charles Leavitt
  • C. Gaby Mitchell
Produced by
Starring
CinematographyEduardo Serra
Edited bySteven Rosenblum
Music byJames Newton Howard
Production
companies
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • December 8, 2006 (2006-12-08) (United States)
Running time
143 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish[1]
Budget$100 million[2]
Box office$171.7 million[2][3]

Blood Diamond is a 2006 American political action thriller film co-produced and directed by Edward Zwick and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Connelly, and Djimon Hounsou. The title refers to blood diamonds, which are diamonds mined in war zones and sold to finance conflicts, and thereby profit warlords and diamond companies across the world.

Set during the Sierra Leone Civil War of 1991–2002, the film depicts a country torn apart by the struggle between government loyalists and insurgent forces. It also portrays many of the atrocities of that war, including the rebels' amputation of civilians' hands to discourage them from voting in upcoming elections.

The film's ending, in which a conference is held concerning blood diamonds, refers to a historic meeting that took place in Kimberley, South Africa, in 2000. It led to development of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, which sought to certify the origin of rough diamonds in order to curb the trade in conflict diamonds; the certification scheme has since been mostly abandoned as ineffective.

The film received mixed reviews, with criticism focused on the film's writing and praise directed toward the performances of DiCaprio and Hounsou. The film grossed $171 million worldwide and received five Oscar nominations, including Best Actor for DiCaprio and Best Supporting Actor for Hounsou. DiCaprio received a nomination for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama (also nominated that year in the same category for The Departed). In addition, DiCaprio and Hounsou were nominated for Outstanding Male Actor in a Leading Role and Outstanding Male Actor in a Supporting Role at the 13th Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Plot[edit]

The film is set in 1999 in Sierra Leone, a West African nation ravaged by a decade of civil war. Rebel factions such as the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) frequently terrorize the countryside, intimidating Mende locals and enslaving many to harvest diamonds, which fund their increasingly successful war effort. One such unfortunate local is fisherman Solomon Vandy (Djimon Hounsou) from Shenge. While his family escapes the rebels, Vandy is assigned to a workforce overseen by Captain Poison (David Harewood), a ruthless warlord.

One morning, while mining a river, Vandy discovers an enormous pink diamond. Captain Poison tries to take the stone, but the area is suddenly raided by government troops. Vandy buries the stone before being captured. Both Vandy and Poison are incarcerated in the Sierra Leone capital of Freetown, along with Danny Archer (Leonardo DiCaprio), a Rhodesian smuggler and mercenary. Archer, a veteran of the 32 Battalion during the South African Border War, was jailed while trying to smuggle diamonds into Liberia. They were intended for Rudolph van de Kaap (Marius Weyers), a corrupt South African mining executive and a major part of the international diamond industry.

Hearing of the pink diamond in prison, Archer arranges for himself and Vandy to be freed from detention. He travels to Cape Town to meet his employer, Colonel Coetzee (Arnold Vosloo), an Afrikaner formerly with the apartheid-era South African Defence Force, who now commands a private military company. Archer wants the diamond so he can sell it and leave the continent forever, but Coetzee wants it as compensation for Archer's botched smuggling mission. Archer returns to Sierra Leone, locates Vandy, and offers to help him find his family if he will help recover the diamond.

Meanwhile, RUF insurgents escalate hostilities; Freetown falls to their advance while Vandy's son Dia is among those rounded up to serve as a child soldier under a liberated Captain Poison. Archer and Vandy narrowly escape to Lungi, where Vandy encounters his wife and daughters in a refugee camp, but finds that his son has been taken by the RUF. Vandy and Archer plan to reach Kono, where Vandy buried the diamond, with an American journalist named Maddy Bowen (Jennifer Connelly), who is attempting to write an exposé on the illicit diamond trade. In exchange for her help, Archer promises to provide her the evidence she needs for her story.

Archer and Vandy, disguised as television journalists, travel with Maddy and a press convoy destined for Kono, but the convoy is ambushed by rebels and the three are forced to flee. While trekking through the jungle, they encounter Kamajor militiamen, who take them to the home of a friendly local named Benjamin Kapanay. The kindhearted Kapanay offers to drive them to Kono, though he is injured by an RUF child soldier on the way. The trio arrive in Kono after a harrowing journey, where Coetzee and his private army—contracted by the Sierra Leone government—prepare to repulse the rebel offensive.

Archer, having developed respect for Maddy, gives her the evidence and forces her to evacuate the country with other civilians; Archer and Vandy, having stolen weapons and supplies from Colonel Coetzee's army, set out for Captain Poison's encampment to retrieve the nearby diamond. Along the way, the two men begin fighting over what they perceive as the ultimate goal: Archer wants the diamond, while Vandy cares only about finding his son.

They arrive at the encampment where Archer, seeing they are heavily outnumbered, calls Coetzee's army via satellite phone to request backup. Vandy, still desperate to find his son, sneaks into the encampment and locates Dia; due to Dia's brainwashing, he refuses to acknowledge his father. Vandy is captured but manages to escape once Coetzee's army arrives. Vandy finds Captain Poison and beats him to death with a shovel as the mercenaries overwhelm the RUF defenders. Coetzee then takes Dia hostage and forces Vandy to produce the diamond, but Archer kills Coetzee after realizing the colonel would eventually kill them both. Dia briefly holds the pair at gunpoint, but Vandy is able to talk him down by reminding him of who he was before his kidnapping. Pursued by vengeful mercenaries, Archer discloses he has been mortally wounded and entrusts the stone to Vandy, telling him to take it for his family. Vandy and his son rendezvous with Archer's pilot, who flies them to safety while Archer makes a final phone call to Maddy, who is in Cape Town; they share final farewells as he asks her to assist Vandy and his family, and he gives her permission to finish her article. Archer finally takes in the beautiful African landscape before dying.

Vandy and Maddy meet in London, where they execute an undercover operation meant to expose the van de Kaap operation's dirty dealings. Vandy exchanges the pink diamond for a large sum of money and a reunion with his entire family. Maddy takes photographs of the exchange and publishes in her exposé on the diamond trade and van de Kaap's criminal actions. Later, Vandy appears as a guest speaker at a conference on blood diamonds in Kimberley, where he is met with a standing ovation.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Charles Leavitt was hired by Warner Bros. in February 2004 to rewrite an early draft of the film, then titled Okavango.[4] The story had been stuck in development hell at the studio for years before producers Paula Weinstein and Gillian Gorfil finally decided on the story of an African farmer caught up in the conflict between an American smuggler and the local diamond mining organization.[4] Leavitt researched the diamond industry at great length before he began writing the screenplay, explaining that he has "always been a stickler for immersing [himself] in research".[5] He wrote the film with the assumption that it would offend the diamond industry, particularly De Beers, and so made sure to portray the industry truthfully, aware that he could potentially be sued by De Beers and other powerful mining corporations.[5] Paula Weinstein was impressed by Leavitt's Blood Diamond draft, but hired writers Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz to rewrite it. By the time he had completed the script, Zwick had become so interested in the story that he agreed to direct the film as well.[6]

Release[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Leonardo DiCaprio (left) and Djimon Hounsou were nominated for the Academy Awards for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, respectively.

On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 63% based on reviews from 219 critics, with an average score of 6.30/10. The site's consensus states "Blood Diamond overcomes poor storytelling with its biting commentary and fine performances."[7] On Metacritic it has a weighted average score of 64 out of 100, based on 39 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[8] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade of A- on a scale from A to F.[9]

Claudia Puig of USA Today gave the film a positive review, calling Blood Diamond "a gem in a season with lots of worthy movies". Puig also praised DiCaprio's acting, calling it "the first time the boyish actor has truly seemed like a man on film".[10] Peter Rainer of The Christian Science Monitor also gave the film a positive review, and like Puig, praised DiCaprio's acting: "DiCaprio is remarkable—his work is almost on par with his performance this year in The Departed."[11] William Arnold of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer gave the film a positive review, saying "Zwick's narrative skills keep us hooked on the story, and the first-rate production values and imaginative use of locations (it was shot in Mozambique) give the film an enthralling scope and epic sweep."[12] Damon Wise of Empire magazine gave the film four out of five stars, saying "Great performances, provocative ideas and gripping action scenes fall prey to Hollywood logic and pat storytelling in the final hour."[13] David Edelstein of New York magazine found the film exceeded his expectations: "Given that the movie doesn't have a single narrative surprise—you always know where it's going and why, commercially speaking, it's going there—it's amazing how good Blood Diamond is. I guess that's the surprise."[14] Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post also praised DiCaprio's acting in both Blood Diamond and The Departed (released the same year), saying that he "has undergone a major growth spurt this year". She called the film as a whole "an unusually smart, engaged popcorn flick".[15]

James Berardinelli of the ReelViews gave the film three out of four stars, saying "It's a solid performance from Leonardo DiCaprio, who has grown into this sort of gritty role and is more believable after having been seen dancing on the dark side in The Departed."[16] Dana Stevens of Slate magazine wrote, "Blood Diamond is a by-the-numbers message picture, to be sure... But the director, Edward Zwick, is craftsman enough that the pace never slackens, the chase scenes thrill, and the battle scenes sicken. And if it makes viewers think twice about buying their sweethearts that hard-won hunk of ice for Christmas, so much the better."[17] Ty Burr of The Boston Globe, after giving the film a positive review, stated: "As an entry in the advocacy-entertainment genre, in which glamorous movie stars bring our attention to the plight of the less fortunate, Blood Diamond is superior to 2003's ridiculous Beyond Borders while looking strident and obvious next to last year's The Constant Gardener.[18]

Pete Vonder Haar of the Film Threat gave the film a mixed review, saying, "It's a reasonably entertaining actioner, and Zwick doesn't shy away from depicting violence or the horrors of war, but as a social statement it falls a little short. And emeralds are prettier anyway."[19] Marc Savlov of The Austin Chronicle also gave the film a mixed review: "While the film never quite reaches the emotional peaks it so obviously seeks to scale, Zwick's film is still potent enough to save you three months salary."[20] Nathan Lee of the Village Voice, like Vonder Haar and Savlov, also gave the film a mixed review, suggesting that "De Beers can relax; the only indignation stirred up by Blood Diamond won't be among those who worry about where their jewelry came from, but with audiences incensed by facile politics and bad storytelling".[21] Scott Tobias of The A.V. Club gave the film a C grade: "Much like Zwick's Glory and The Last Samurai, Blood Diamond strives to be an important film while stopping well short of being genuinely provocative and artistically chancy."[22] Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle gave the film a negative review, arguing that "director Edward Zwick tried to make a great movie, but somewhere in the process he forgot to make a good one".[23]

Box office performance[edit]

Blood Diamond opened on December 8, 2006, in the United States and Canada in 1,910 theaters.[2] The film ranked at #5 on its opening weekend, accumulating $8,648,324, with a per-theater average of $4,527.[24] The film's five-day gross was $10,383,962.[25]

The film dropped down to #7 on its second weekend, accumulating $6,517,471 in a 24.6% drop from its first weekend, and per-theater average of $3,412.[26] By its third weekend it dropped even more to #12 and made $3,126,379, with its per-theater average being $1,628.[27]

Blood Diamond went on to gross $57,377,916 in the United States and Canada and $114,029,263 overseas. In total, the film has grossed $171,407,179 worldwide.[2]

Accolades[edit]

Ceremony Date of ceremony Award Recipient(s) Result
79th Academy Awards[28] Feb 25, 2007 Best Actor Leonardo DiCaprio Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Djimon Hounsou Nominated
Best Film Editing Steven Rosenblum Nominated
Best Sound Editing Lon Bender Nominated
Best Sound Mixing Andy Nelson, Anna Behlmer, Ivan Sharrock Nominated
Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards 2006 Jan 14, 2007 Best Actor Leonardo DiCaprio Nominated
Best Film Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Djimon Hounsou Nominated
64th Golden Globe Awards Jan 15, 2007 Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama Leonardo DiCaprio Nominated
Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association Dec 19, 2006 Best Film Nominated
Best Actor Leonardo DiCaprio Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Djimon Hounsou Nominated
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards 2006 Dec 18, 2006 Best Supporting Actor Djimon Hounsou Won
National Board of Review Awards 2006 Dec 6, 2006 Best Supporting Actor Djimon Hounsou Won
Satellite Awards 2006 Dec 18, 2006 Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama Leonardo DiCaprio Nominated
13th Screen Actors Guild Awards Jan 28, 2007 Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role Leonardo DiCaprio Nominated
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role Djimon Hounsou Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Aug 26, 2007 Choice Movie Actor – Drama Leonardo DiCaprio (Also for The Departed) Nominated
Visual Effects Society Awards 2006 Feb 12, 2007 Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Motion Picture Jeffrey A. Okun, Thomas Boland, Tim Crosbie, Neil Greenberg Nominated
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Awards 2006 Dec 11, 2006 Best Supporting Actor Djimon Hounsou Won

Music[edit]

Blood Diamond: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Film score by
Released
  • December 19, 2006 (2006-12-19)
Recorded2006
GenreContemporary classical
Length61:26
LabelVarèse Sarabande
ProducerJames Newton Howard
James Newton Howard chronology
Lady in the Water Blood Diamond: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack The Lookout
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
SoundtrackNet3.5/5 stars
AllMusic4/5 stars

Blood Diamond: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is the soundtrack to the film of the same name, released on December 19, 2006, by Varèse Sarabande. It was composed by James Newton Howard and won the Soundtrack of the Year award at the 2008 Classic Brit Awards.

Soundtrack[edit]

No.TitleLength
1."Blood Diamond Titles"1:32
2."Crossing the Bridge"1:41
3."Village Attack"1:52
4."RUF Kidnaps Dia"3:02
5."Archer & Solomon Hike"1:55
6."Maddy & Archer"1:56
7."Solomon Finds Family"2:09
8."Fall of Freetown"4:45
9."Did You Bury It?"1:36
10."Archer Sells Diamond"1:40
11."Goodbyes"2:40
12."Your Son is Gone"1:21
13."Diamond Mine Bombed"4:31
14."Solomon's Helping Hand"1:11
15."G8 Conference"2:36
16."Solomon & Archer Escape"2:12
17."I Can Carry You"1:30
18."Your Mother Loves You"2:24
19."Thought I'd Never Call?"3:56
20."London"2:38
21."Solomon Vandy"2:11
22."Ankala" (Performed by Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars)4:12
23."Baai" (Performed by Emmanuel Jal with Abd El Gadir Salim)4:37
24."When Da Dawgs Come Out to Play" (Performed by Bai Burea, featuring Masta Kent and Bullet Rhymes)3:19
Total length:61:26

Home media[edit]

Blood Diamond was released on DVD in region 1 format on March 20, 2007.[29] Both a single-disc and a two-disc version were released.[30][31] The film has sold an estimated 3.6 million DVD units and has grossed $62.7 million in sales.[29]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "BLOOD DIAMOND". British Board of Film Classification.
  2. ^ a b c d "Blood Diamond (2007)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved September 7, 2012.
  3. ^ "Blood Diamond". The-Numbers.com. Nash Information Services, LLC. Retrieved September 7, 2012.
  4. ^ a b Dunkley, Cathy (February 24, 2004). "WB leaving 'Okavango' to Leavitt". Variety. Retrieved November 1, 2014.
  5. ^ a b Faye, Denis (2006). "Diamond Scribe". Writers Guild of America West. Archived from the original on November 2, 2014. Retrieved November 1, 2014.
  6. ^ Brodesser, Claude (June 28, 2005). "WB polishes 'Diamond'". Variety. Retrieved November 1, 2014.
  7. ^ "Blood Diamond". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved August 23, 2021.
  8. ^ "Blood Diamond". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved January 10, 2019.
  9. ^ "BLOOD DIAMOND (2006) A-". CinemaScore. Archived from the original on December 20, 2018.
  10. ^ Puig, Claudia (December 7, 2006). "Blood Diamond shines forth". USA Today. Retrieved January 10, 2019.
  11. ^ Rainer, Peter (December 8, 2006). "Star-studded, flawed diamond". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved January 10, 2019.
  12. ^ Arnold, William (December 7, 2006). "Blood Diamond is a multicarat message movie". SeattlePI.com. Hearst Communications Inc. Retrieved September 9, 2012.
  13. ^ Wise, Damon. "Blood Diamond". Empire (film magazine). Bauer Consumer Media. Retrieved September 9, 2012.
  14. ^ Edelstein, David (December 3, 2006). "They Cut Glass. And Hands". NYMag.com. New York Media LLC. Retrieved September 9, 2012.
  15. ^ Hornaday, Ann (December 8, 2006). "Blood Diamond". WashingtonPost.com. Archived from the original on February 9, 2013. Retrieved September 9, 2012.
  16. ^ Berardinelli, James (2007). "Review: Blood Diamond". ReelViews.net. Retrieved December 27, 2010.
  17. ^ Stevens, Dana (December 8, 2006). "Trading Spaces". Slate.com. The Slate Group, LLC. Retrieved September 9, 2012.
  18. ^ Burr, Ty (December 8, 2006). "'Diamond' trades on action and star appeal". Boston.com. Retrieved September 9, 2012.
  19. ^ Vonder Haar, Pete (2006). "Blood Diamond". FilmThread.com. Hamster Stampede LLC. Retrieved September 9, 2012.
  20. ^ Savlov, Marc (December 8, 2006). "Blood Diamond". AustinChronicle.com. Austin Chronicle Corp. Retrieved September 9, 2012.
  21. ^ Lee, Nathan (November 28, 2006). "Say It with Diamonds?". Village Voice. Village Voice, LLC. Retrieved September 9, 2012.
  22. ^ Tobias, Scott (December 7, 2006). "Blood Diamond". AVClub.com. Onion Inc. Retrieved September 9, 2012.
  23. ^ LaSalle, Mick (December 8, 2006). "Romancing the enormous conflict diamond". SFGate.com. Hearst Communications Inc. Retrieved September 9, 2012.
  24. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for December 8–10". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved September 7, 2012.
  25. ^ "Daily Box Office Results for December 12". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved September 7, 2012.
  26. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for December 15–17". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved September 7, 2012.
  27. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for December 22–24". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved September 7, 2012.
  28. ^ "The 79th Academy Awards Nominees and Winners". Oscars.org. Retrieved November 20, 2011.
  29. ^ a b "Blood Diamond – DVD Sales". The-Numbers.com. Nash Information Services, LLC. Retrieved September 9, 2012.
  30. ^ "Blood Diamond [DVD] [2007]". Amazon.com. Retrieved September 9, 2012.
  31. ^ "Blood Diamond (Two-Disc Special Edition) (2007)". Amazon.com. Retrieved September 9, 2012.

External links[edit]