The rantings of a beautiful mind

On life, society, and computer technology.

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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

I live in the Fortress of Solitude. I drive the Silver Beast. My obsession is justice. I used to be a Windows software developer. I retired in 2000 when my stock options helped me achieve financial security.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Movie Review: Blood Diamond

Blood Diamond stars Leonardo diCaprio as a diamond smuggler named Danny Archer in Sierra Leone who teams up with a farmer named Solomon Vandy (Djimon Hounsou) to find a rare pink diamond buried by the farmer when he was captured by rebels. Vandy wants to find his son, who has been recruited and brainwashed by the rebels, and he needs Archer’s help.

The film’s not-so-subtle agenda is to persuade us, the audience, that conflict diamonds fund wars and terrorism in Africa and that we should not buy diamonds because we can never be sure that they’re not conflict diamonds. It is a very persuasive argument. (The film shows how conflict diamonds from Sierra Leone are “laundered” in neighbouring Liberia and once they make it to market, they are completely indistinguishable from legal diamonds.)

The diamond industry disingenuously claims that only 15 percent of the world’s diamond trade consists of illegal diamonds, but regardless of whether or not you believe the numbers, the fact is, when you buy a diamond, there is a very real possibility that you have blood on your hands, that you’ve helped to kills thousands in Africa.

Add to this the fact that the diamond industry hoards and holds diamonds in order to artificially maintain their high prices (obviating the free market), and it is clear that only fools would pay so much money for pretty stones. Fools and people without a conscience.

DiCaprio gives a very strong performance, one of his best I think. (Earlier this year, he gave another terrific performance in The Departed. This is a very good year for diCaprio!)

Hounsou is also excellent. I remember him well from Gladiator. But here, he gives a truly memorable performance.

While the movie is a little preachy, overall I give it a hearty Thumbs Up. I really liked it. And if you care at all about the plight of Africa, you will see this film.

But most importantly, boycott diamonds!! For the sake of your soul.


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