Sunday, January 07, 2007

eyeCandy: Blood Diamond (2006) 5/5

NOTE: It's been a while since I've posted (work, travel, and a broken hand all being major factors) but I'm happy to come back with a review of this fantastic movie and will be posting each week in 2007 - so thanks for your patience and a Happy New Year to you all!

Blood Diamond is the best movie I've seen in a long time. It's not often that I leave the theatre without a single item in mind that I would have liked to be handled differently, but I am at a loss as to anything to change here. Director Edward Zwick (The Last Samurai, Glory) has crafted a magnificent film, full of poignancy and emotional power while being both balanced and restrained - a difficult achievement to say the least.

In the midst of the brutal civil war in 1990's Sierra Leone, Danny Archer (Leonardo DiCaprio), a South African diamond smuggler, crosses paths with Solomon Vandy (Djimon Hounsou), a simple African man who, after losing his family to the rebels, has buried an enormous diamond found while working in their slave mining camps. When Archer learns of this, he promises Soloman that he will help him find his lost family in exchange for returning with him to the camp to locate the priceless jewel - Archer's ticket out of the miserable existence he has endured in the dark continent.

The acting in the movie is superlative. DiCaprio, one of the great actors of our day, once again shows his amazing versatility as well as his prowess for choosing exceptional films of which to be a part. Hounsou, who I first remember from Amistad, is similarly exceptional and both actors are utterly believable in their roles. The film moves from beautiful landscapes to chaotic urban battles to understated but highly emotional personal scenes, creating a fascinating tapestry that is all the more moving because of the reality of the situation it portrays.

Without being preachy, Blood Diamond shows us a part of our collective past that cannot help but promote a deep consideration of the great wrongs (and some of the rights) of the world we live in. From the struggles of a family to the machinations of global enterprise, from the cruelty and ruin of a savage war to the beauty and dignity of human kindness and love. The film is simply without flaw.
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1/07/2007 07:27:00 p.m.  


Anonymous RichC said...

Just heard about this movie this weekend and it is on my list of must sees. Thanks for your review. (glad you are back ... how's the hand?)

January 07, 2007 10:52 p.m.  
Anonymous John said...

This movie is high up on my list to see… though since our first (kid) is on its way in the next couple of weeks, we have to pick one to go see as our 'last movie' for a long while ;) and I think its gonna be The Good Shepherd. But based on this review, you've just made that decision un-finalized. Its one of the two for sure… let you know how I make out.

Glad to see you're back and okay… was starting to think I was gonna have to probe your sis.

January 07, 2007 11:46 p.m.  
Blogger Jeff MacArthur said...

Thanks guys. It's very heartening to see some comments so quickly and I appreciate your kind thoughts.

In fact, I just got back from Physio and my hand is coming along okay. It's funny, they did a "grip strength test" and my uninjured right hand was 55 lbs of pressure (or whatever they use for units) and my injured left hand was 5 lbs - needless to say I am no longer the undisputed jar-opener in my household :-) .

In terms of the movie: I am still excited to see The Good Shepherd but I've heard enough negative points (e.g. the inability to sustain the movie over almost 2 hours and 50 minutes, which is just director ego stuff as far as I'm concerned) that I'm expecting Blood Diamond to be the better film. I'm hoping to see Good Shepherd in the next week or two, though, so I guess I'll get to see firsthand.

Thanks for reading!


January 08, 2007 9:06 a.m.  
Blogger Jeff MacArthur said...

Oh, and congrats on the new member of the family, John - you must be very excited!


January 08, 2007 9:07 a.m.  
Anonymous John said...

Thanks and you bet your strong hand I am! Good luck with rehab.

But what did you do?

January 08, 2007 7:30 p.m.  
Blogger Jeff MacArthur said...

Hey John,

Some kid was speeding and ran through a red light a week before Christmas, totalling my car and his (to give you an idea of how fast he was going, we were going about 20 km/h and he totalled our Jeep Grand Cherokee with a '92 Honda Civic, causing our air bags to activate and everything).

He fractured my left wrist and did a lot of "soft tissue damage" (tendons/ligaments stuff) that has put my left hand out of action, but thankfully that was the worst anyone was hurt.

It was by far the biggest two car accident I'd ever been around, so I'm pretty happy to just be here (as much as I appreciate the environmental concerns, it has cemented my desire to own a pretty solid vehicle). Suffice to say, it sucked. :-)


January 08, 2007 10:02 p.m.  
Anonymous John said...

Oh lord! Sorry you had that happen. Here's to a least pain possible and complete recovery for you.

January 11, 2007 7:23 p.m.  
Blogger Jeff MacArthur said...

Thanks John :-) .


January 12, 2007 1:19 p.m.  

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