Blood Diamond

Dijmoun Hounsou from Blood Diamond

My mom jokingly asked me last night whether I think Leonardo DiCaprio in Blood Diamond can hold his accent. The second time through viewing it, I’m even more sure he can’t, and though I’m miffed that the film centers so much on Leo, I was again struck by the bold placement of warnings to Americans about how our diamond purchases support weapons and war.

I appreciate that the film did the opposite of shying away from such a direct assault on the consumer and the viewer, and I think it’s compelling. Another compelling portrayal is the one of child soldiers, the pain of losing a child to rebels, the drugs, the guns, the senseless killing, and the difficulty of healing such children from the violence that yields their blank stares and empty hearts. Though it’s overdone, with all its flaws, I still really appreciate the statements this movie is making and the injustices it’s exposing.

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One thought on “Blood Diamond

  1. Hey Erin! Your mention of Blood Diamond inspired me to share/vent my response, and I hope you don’t mind too much. After being around a few South Africans (not too many like Leo’s character, however) I can confirm that you are correct in being unimpressed with his accent in the film. I also agree that I was really frustrated with how much the film focused on him when he was such an unredeemed scumbag. He doesn’t do anything to help anyone else, or let go his lust for that diamond until (*spoiler*) he is bleeding his life out on a hillside. And I needed to sympathize with his character more before I could understand Jennifer Connoly’s character having any affection for him.

    Overall I liked the movie for all the reasons you mentioned. But the thing that really bothered me was how Djamon Housou’s character was portrayed. He is always, at the end of the day, the voiceless black African who simply has to take his awful treatment from the whites, and I wanted him to stand up to Leo more than he did. He was a pawn getting moved around by everyone else, which may have been the point, but I wanted him to get more attention and some better lines.

    Case in point: the closing scene where he walks in his suit into the press conference or UN meeting or whatever, all the white people applaud, Jennifer Connoly gets emotional, he walk up to the podium and… fade to black. He is a heroically sympathetic black man that the white people cheer for, who doesn’t get a chance to say anything. That scene needed to end with him saying something poignant, but instead he just continued to be a set piece. Again, maybe that was just what the filmakers wanted me to think, but I don’t give them that much credit. The film itself, in addition to the plot, really portrtays the way Africa and Africans become silenced even by many of the aid programs that try to help them, just as they were by the colonial powers. It is a great film to educate about the conflict diamond trade, but I was uncomfortable with the things I mention above. And one more thing: by saying Sierra Leonne is at peace at the end, one could be led to believe that the conflict diamond problem has been taken care of. There needed to be mention of the continuing reality of this problem. So, the moral of the story is: buy Canadian diamonds!

    That said, I have really enjoyed checking in with your blog today, and will be sure to make more stops here throughout the summer. Thanks for sharing your heart and your experience, my friend!

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