Friday, January 27, 2012

Exploartion 5: Reel or Real?

Blood Diamond is an action/thriller movie, which has received mostly mixed reviews. One particular area of dispute is the message carried out by this film. New York Times and Entertainment Weekly both feel that the sole message portrayed in this film is to educate viewers on what blood diamonds are, so that they may refrain from purchasing them. As this film is a thriller, it is meant to be enjoyed, with a bag of popcorn on your lap, but undercuts the real, social issues involved in this film which are grave, and quite heart wrenching. IONCINEMA harshly criticizes the screenplay of the film. According to this review, Jennifer Connelly’s character goes unnoticed, as she doesn’t really get much dialogue in the film. In the movie, Connelly’s character is the only one that actually brings to perspective how the war issues in Africa are trivial to the western world, and that this is a pitiful truth. However, as Connelly’s character is insignificant to the film, the following message is not executed quite well.
Although the film has received the following criticism, there have been many praises as well. Movie Web expresses great acclaim for the cinematography of the film, including the breathtaking visuals of the African landscape, as well as the original film score, composed by James Newton Howard. Movie Web also states that the intimate scenes between Hounsou’s character and his son really leave a warm touch to the audience’s hearts, as they are played out in such a raw, and authentic manner. Empire Movies has a directly opposing viewpoint to those of Entertainment Weekly and New York Times, concerning the theme of the film. Empire Movies feels that Blood Diamond is a very compelling, and eye-opening film, which has the ability to change anyone’s perspective on purchasing any type of diamonds. Contrary to criticism that this film does not put emphasis on the social and governmental issues in Africa, Empire Movie states that it does do so.

After reading the criticism over the motion picture, Blood Diamond, I’d have to say, overall this is a great thriller, in and of itself. I don’t feel the film covers the subject of Sierra Leone’s governmental conflicts, or the subject of child soldiers in great depth. If this film were to be shown as the only source of information concerning these issues, then not very much information could be derived out of it. Besides this, I feel the film is a great thriller, which uses the war in Sierra Leone as basis to set its story upon. The characters are very intriguing. I thoroughly enjoyed Leonardo Dicaprio’s character, as he portrayed very well, the sustaining racism in Africa at the time. The way he considers himself superior to Hounsou’s character really puts his character into place initially. Through the film, Dicaprio’s character is very dynamic, as he starts to show more consideration towards the feelings of others. When Hounsou’s character’s son is reunited with him father, and they cry together, as they have finally reunited, and the boy has come to his senses, I felt like crying, as I thought that scene really summed up the purpose of Hounsou’s characters throughout this film: to find his son. I felt Connelly’s character was added solely out of a need to have a love interest present for Dicaprio’s character. Connelly’s character doesn’t progress very much throughout the movie, which is somewhat disappointing. Overall, I found this movie thoroughly enjoyable, as a thriller.

A very dynamic character in this film, who I thought to be very appealing, was Leonardo Dicaprio’s character, Danny Archer. Now, Danny Archer, although not in any physical danger, has one particular struggle with which he deals throughout the movie: his inner dilemma. Danny Archer is White Rhodesian diamond smuggler, who needs to obtain a big find to smuggle into Liberia. When he is in jail for having been caught smuggling, he meets Solomon Vandy, and bribes Vandy to retrieve the diamond for him, in turn for the safety of his family. Throughout this journey, Archer starts to gain more humanitarianism, as he seems Vandy’s son, Dia fighting for the RUF, and Vandy’s determination to get his son back. He starts to reconsider his priorities in life, and learns to respect Vandy, and the manipulation turns into care, as Archer starts caring less about the diamond, and more about the wellbeing of Vandy’s family. Archer’s dilemma is resolved in a bittersweet ending, where Archer is shot, and predicts he will die anyway, and decides to give away the diamond to Vandy. He dies happily that Vandy will return to safety, with his whole family, while finding his own death predictable, and doesn’t show much care for it.

One particular scene from Blood Diamond that I found particularly appealing, and significant to the theme of brainwashing of child soldiers, is where Solomon is at the rebels’ area, trying to locate his son, Dia. Once he finds Dia, he tries to run away with him, only to find that Dia has been brainwashed. “Who are you? Get out of here, traitor!” Dia screams, pointing a gun at his father’s head, completely shutting out that Solomon is his father. I found this scene to be very powerful, and painful. An innocent boy, who we saw at the beginning of the film, extremely jolly, enjoying school, was now capable of gunning down his father. The brainwashing had such a powerful impact on this innocent boy.

1 comment:

  1. I also enjoyed Leonardo Dicaprio’s charachter and I also do believe he a nice job acting. I also felt like crying in some parts of the movie it was truly sad. Especially when Dia rejects his father as you have described. The quote you have chosen is very good in describing the brainwashing that was taking place, especially when their isn't many parts in the movie that show brainwashing.