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March 2007

DVD REVIEW: BLOOD DIAMOND

By Kam Williams

DVD REVIEW: BLOOD DIAMOND


Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Djimon Hounsou, Jennifer Connelly, Kagiso Kuypers, Benu Mabhena, See more
Director: Edward Zwick
Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
Language: English
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Number of discs: 2
Rating
Studio: Warner Home Video
DVD Release Date: March 20, 2007
Run Time: 138 minutes
DVD Features:
Available Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
Available Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Commentary by director Edward Zwick
"Blood on the Stone" documentary: Follow the path of a diamond from the ground to the store
Featurettes: Becoming Archer (a profile of Leonardo DiCaprio and how he trained for the war), Journalism on the Front Line (Jennifer Connelly on women journalists at war), Inside the Siege of Freetown (see how Ed Zwick tackled the pivotal scene)
Music video: "Shine On Em" by rap artist Nas
Theatrical trailer

 

   
 

Action Flick Featuring Oscar-Nominated Performances Out on DVD 
 
 Danny Archer (Leonardo DiCaprio), a soldier of fortune from Zimbabwe, is in  Sierra Leone to exchange arms for diamonds with the highest bidder, whether that be the government or the rebel led Revolutionary United Front (RUF). A white Rhodesian bitter about the loss of his birthplace, he could careless how much blood is shed during Sierra Leone’s interminable civil war, as long as he can profit from the slaughter. 
   
By contrast, Solomon Vandy (Djimon Hounsou), a local fisherman, would like  nothing more than to escape from his homeland. But first he has to find his family which has vanished amidst the chaos. Luckily, Solomon had the good fortune to find a priceless stone while being forced to dig for diamonds at gunpoint by the outlawed RUF. Meanwhile, Maddy Bowen (Jennifer Connelly), an intrepid American journalist, is in the country doing research for an expose’ she wants to write on the role that the diamond industry plays in the continuing controversy by its unethical emphasis on profits over principles. It’s not hard to guess that the fates of these three strangers become intertwined in Blood Diamond, a taut, if simplistically drawn thriller directed by Edward Zwick (Glory). 

   Set in Sierra Leone in 1999, the movie is at heart a high body-count adventure although it is also heavily layered with sentimental subplots at every turn, from the unlikely-buddy relationship between Danny and Solomon to a budding romance between Maddy and Danny to Maddy’s maternalistic concern for the whereabouts of Solomon’s kin. DiCaprio and Hounsou turn in Oscar-nominated performances in service of an action flick where they’re upstaged by ubiquitous savagery. 

 Ultimately, all the loose ends of this well-meaning fairy tale are tied together nicely, albeit a tad too sappily for those who know what a hellhole of ethnic cleansing Sierra Leone was really like.