Blood Diamond: Zwick’s Controversial Movie

Ed Zwick’s new, topical actioner, “Blood Diamond” is quickly becoming the most eagerly awaited film of the holiday season. Here are the reasons why.

All-Star Cast

To begin with it has star power. This is Leonardo DiCaprio’s big year. After scoring success in Scorsese’s “The Departed,” in which he stands out, in a cast that includes Jack Nicholson and Matt Damon, he’ll soon to be seen as the lead in Blood Diamond, playing Danny Archer, a South African mercenary who transports diamonds for one of the world’s largest jewelers.

Then there is Oscar-nominee Djimon Hounso “In America”), who’s cast as Solomon Vandy, a local villager, seized by the Revolutionary United Front and forced to work mining diamonds.

Rounding out the triangle is Oscar-winner Jennifer Connelly, as Maddy Bowen a Vanity Fair journalist who’s assigned to track the illegal diamond-trade story

Blending Action and Message

Living up to its genre, “Blood Diamond” contains the requisite chases, explosions, and gunplayand it’s very very violent, even by standards of American actioners.

The shoot in Mozambigue, Sierra Leone, was tough on all involved. Both cast and crew members were injured during filming and some had to be hospitalized. A special-effects expert lost his hand while working with an explosive device.

Zwick tries to blend a social problem (message) picture, about issues of political and human rights, with an actioner that delivers the goods.
In one particularly intense scene, the movie depicts the RUF’s attack of Freetown in 1999, which resulted with the death of at least 5,000 in the streets.

Father-Son Drama

And not to spoil the fun, I’ll just say than one subplot involves the son of Hounsou’s character, who is kidnapped. One of the most touching features of the screenplay, written by Charles Leavitt, is Vandy’s effort to rescue his son from the horrors of being a child soldier. “Blood Diamond” deals with other relevant and painful issues: Children’s slavery, children in the military and children abuse.

Personal Agendas in Political Context

What unifies the disparate characters is the political setting, though each one has his/hers personal agenda. Thus, the mercenary Archer is looking for the desirable diamond; Maddy wants to be the first to get the hot-button story; Solomon wants to find his lost son and

The Diamond Industry

The diamond industry has been concerned with the effects of the movie on their business. In the process, the motto, “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend,” is contested as well, knowing the origins of the jewelry that many women wear not only on their wedding day but also throughout their lives.

Ed Zwick’s Film Career

If you look at Ed Zwick’s career, you’ll see that there’s a consistent trend in his work: an effort to make politically timely and socially relevant films. He tackled racism in the military in “Glory,” a period picture that put Denzel Washington on the map with a Supporting Actor Oscar.

Oscar Worries

As the mercenary, DiCaprio is supposed to give another brilliantand matureperformance. Since both “The Departed” and “Blood Diamond” are distributed by Warner, and DiCaprio plays the lead in both, the burning question is, which movie would the studio push for Best Actor considerations Would we see another case of Oscar politics, in which DiCaprio is promoted as lead for “Blood Diamond,” and absurdly relegated to Supporting Oscar considerations for “The Departed,” so that he gets two Oscar nominations this year, or at least doesn’t cancel himself out if promoted for two lead roles in the same year

Hollywood’s Ironies

I am curious to know what would the premiere of “Blood Diamond” look like in Hollywood Specifically, which female stars will be displaying their diamonds in public

“Blood Diamond” opens in urban centers December 8, before going wide two weeks later.