The movie ‘Blood Diamond’ is a political story that resonates with African context perfectly. Produced in 2006 by Edward Zwick, the movie features renowned actors such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Connelly who play their roles perfectly and in line with the major themes of the movie.
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In particular, the movie attempts to uncover the civil war in the Western African state of Sierra Leone between 1996 and 2001. The country experienced the devastation of the severe conflict as government and rebel forces engaged in a gruesome confrontation that left innumerable people dead.
As the war intensifies, the director depicts diamonds as a source of violence whereby the rebels and the government compete for diamonds to fund their respective armies. Smuggling of diamonds happened from as far as Liberia. This critical essay analyzes the movie and focuses on the major aspects of the film that become apparent as it unfolds.
The story revolves around the so-called ‘blood diamonds’ that refers to illegally mined that fuelled one of the bloodiest wars in recent African history. It takes place in Sierra Leone during the civil war of 1999. At that point, it is difficult to figure out whether the government or the rebels are acting in the best interests of the people.
Many people find themselves caught in between the conflict involving the two sides. Diamonds, one of the most expensive exports of Sierra Leone continues to be in the market despite an international ban on the conflict diamond. Through smuggling, people purchase diamonds even in an open market.
Zwick (2006) provides this background accurately although there are parts that reflect fiction. Nonetheless, they do not deviate from the movie in a significant way. Djimon Hounsou acting as Vandy has a family and lives in the countryside. He tries his best to ensure that his son will have a better life by sending him to school.
The rebels attack one day and kill numerous people within the village in an ambush that aimed at capturing slaves and child soldiers. They also capture Vandy and recruit him into one of the mines where he sifts sand in search of diamonds for the rebels. It is here that he finds a huge piece of pink diamond and hides it in the sand.
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A government raid on the mines captures and jails him. While in jail, Vandy meets DiCaprio (acting as Archer) whom they strike a deal on the hidden diamond. Archer would ensure that Vandy can reunite with his family and in return, get the diamonds. Archer receives help from one of his friends who promise to expose the illegal trade of the diamond in the world markets.
This would be the ultimate solution to quelling the civil war. This is an oversimplification of the first part of the movie since it requires substantial attention. The audience needs to comprehend and follow the happenings to have a clear picture of the country.
Zwick (2006) portrays Sierra Leone as a failed state where massive atrocities and crimes against humanity thrive as both the rebels and authorities engage in the illicit trade of diamonds. The film shows the recruitment of lads by the rebels who introduce them into the world of drugs through torture for them to become hardened rebels.
Specifically, Zwick (2006) gives a picture of a young boy who fires an automatic rifle into a group of civilians and causes a stir and panic. The movie narrates the events that reveal the corruption of young people to cause mayhem and kill many civilians. Accurately, this was a common reference to the civil war induced by the greed for diamonds by both the government and the rebels.
The rebels compelled the people to kill others as a sign of patriotism. The director can develop the main characters of the movie to depict the devastation caused by the war. Archer is a character who comes in terms with the reality of the war and forced to soften some of his ethics and moral beliefs.
As the starring in the movie, he can integrate the audience as he explores the illegality and the atrocities that the sale of diamonds had caused in the country. Dissimilar to Archer, Vandy focuses all his attention to his wife and children since he does not have an arc. His desire to reunite with his family drives the theme of the film.
This way, he can relate with the audience and facilitate the exploration of major themes and objectives of the movie. Additionally, other characters help to provide a solution to the war. Jennifer Connelly who features in the movie as Maddy sees the solution of the civil war to be her responsibility of painting the picture of the ‘dirty’ diamonds to the world that had no idea on the diamond mining in Sierra Leone and had as such, continued to purchase them (Zwick, 2006).
Blood Diamond is an epic tale that thrills the audience as the story unfolds. However, people would cite that the film has shifted its theme of epic tales to moving emotions regarding the African sociopolitical institutions among other factors. The movie reflects real events that occurred in the country leading to the paradigm shift in the major objective of the film.
The horrific and grotesque acts committed by the rebels and the government distances the audience from the usual heroic scene typical of an epic story. Zwick (2006) describes the movie as a revelation of the ineffectiveness of African sociopolitical institutions partially due to greed and endless wars fueled by rebels.
The director enhances the themes of poor governance, illicit commerce and corruption as the leading factors that led to the vulnerability of the civilians in the hands of armed gangs and rebels.
In essence, Blood Diamond is a movie that depicts Sierra Leone’s civil war of 1999. Through superior screenplay and characterization, the director develops the plot in line with the real events that happened in the country. The film describes the trade of diamonds that was contrary to the international framework, greed, and corruption as the main causes of the vicious war that gripped the region.
Although the movie is an epic story characterized by action and violence, the audience may fail to realize the objectives of an epic tale and focus their attention on the atrocities that happened in the country due to the ‘blood diamonds.’ Nonetheless, the director has expanded the spectrum of movies to cover human atrocities and wars as a way of social activism. The movie is, therefore, an accurate episode of events that triggered and fueled the civil war in Sierra Leone.
Zwick, E. (Executive Producer). (2006). Blood Diamond [DVD]. Hollywood, California: Warner Bros Pictures.