Volume 76, Number 29 | December 13 - 19, 2006

Koch on film

By Ed Koch

“Blood Diamond” (-)

I have read a number of times that when producers avoid reviews before their film opens, it signifies a turkey. I now know why “Blood Diamond” was not reviewed in Friday’s papers the day before it opened. It is one of the worst movies I have seen this year.

The plot involves the civil wars of Africa, particularly on the West Coast where Liberia and Sierra Leone are located. The film opens with white leaders from around the world attending a conference in Africa. They point out that rebels are using the diamond fields of Africa to finance their rebellions, and the leaders hope to prevent those diamonds from entering the world’s economy. Up to this point the story is interesting and true, but every subsequent scene is over the top.

Danny Archer (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a diamond hunter, and Solomon Vandy (Djimon Hounsou) is a black African whose village is overrun by the rebels. Solomon is taken prisoner and his son, about 12 years old, is pressed into military service by the rebels where he is trained to commit terrible acts.

From there we go to the diamond fields. A large diamond is found and buried by Solomon who has been forced into labor by the rebels. Later he and Danny join together to retrieve it, and they are joined by an American journalist, Maddy Bowen (Jennifer Connelly), who becomes the love interest of Danny.

Each scene seeks to send a positive message, but they are done so crudely that the movie becomes boring, although very bloody.  I don’t want to destroy the impact of those scenes, slight as they are, so I won’t detail them, but for me the movie went on endlessly, and each scene was more foolish than the previous one.  I was also amazed that the acting was so lackluster.

HS said: “My view is somewhat different. I have never been to Africa and really enjoyed the scenery, both urban and rural. The plot was highly improbable, that’s just like an opera.  Leonardo DiCaprio made a splendid soldier of fortune and Jennifer Connelly a beautiful reporter. The color was spectacular, the cursing was discreet and the torture only simulated. It wasn’t “The African Queen,” but what the (devil) do you want out of a sub-Saharan movie anyway?”

HS said the torture was simulated. Believe me, I suffered. I will never again go to a movie whose producers avoid having it reviewed before it opens. You now have my views on this film. It’s up to you to heed my advice or to be a masochist.

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