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Oscar®Oscar® Nominee for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Leonardo DiCaprio), Best Film Editing, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing


Blood Diamond

MPA Rating: R-Rating (MPA) for strong violence and language

Reviewed by: Joel L. Pearce, J.D.

Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adventure, Drama, Thriller, Crime, Romance
2 hr. 18 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
December 8, 2006 (wide)
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Relevant Issues
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Diamonds in the Bible




A single man or woman can help change the world. Read about some who did with faith and God’s help…
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Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer

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The Origin of bad—How did bad things come about? Answer

What kind of world would you create? Answer

Featuring Leonardo DiCaprio, Djimon Hounsou, Jennifer Connelly, James Purefoy, Arnold Vosloo
Director Edward Zwick
Producer Len Amato, Benjamin Waisbren, Kevin De La Noy
Distributor Warner Bros.

“Truth. Fortune. Freedom”

“The two stand in the fast-thinning throng of victims, but they speak as if they were alone. Eye to eye, voice to voice, hand to hand, heart to heart, these two children of the Universal Mother, else so wide apart and differing, have come together on the dark highway, to repair home together, and to rest in her bosom” (Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities).

“For what shall it profit a man to gain the whole world but to lose his soul?” (Jesus).

“Blood Diamond,” the latest film from Edward Zwick (“Legends of the Fall”), is the tale of two men, one black, the other white, from the spiritually-dark continent of Africa. It is set in Sierra Leone in 1999, at a time when “each man does what is right in his own eyes.” The land is defiled and filled with violence. Civil war has engulfed the country, and its unparalleled blood-letting is financed with the ill-gotten gains of the black market diamond trade.

The film contrasts the lives of two Africans: Both men are in their early thirties. One (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a mercenary and diamond smuggler, without family, who dreams of making enough money from his black market racketeering to escape the horror and sorrow that Africa has become to him, while the other (Djimon Hounsou) is a family man, a fisherman, raising his small family, who dreams of his son becoming a doctor in order to change Africa from within. “Blood Diamond” is the story of these two men, and the different paths each takes. The film soberly asks the question about whether the things we live for are really worth dying for, and if not why are we doing them.

Leonardo DiCaprio (“Titanic,” “The Departed”) is Danny Archer, a ruthless diamond smuggler from Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) whose fortune turns south when he is arrested for smuggling while attempting a border crossing. Archer, whose family has been murdered during the Rhodesian civil war, has concluded, as he tells a reporter Jennifer Connelly (“A Brilliant Mind”) that God has “forsaken” Africa, that it’s every man for himself, and that this is why he does what he does for a living. Archer lives quite literally by the law of the jungle, kills without sorrow, steals without regret and at one point threatens to peel the face off Solomon (Hounsou), if Hounsou jeopardizes his safety again. Archer’s identity and value is thus connected to his ability to smuggle diamonds out of Africa and into the black market. People have value to him only insofar as they help him achieve what he wants.

After Danny Archer is arrested and jailed for smuggling the diamonds and relegated to a dark, crowded jail cell, he overhears the extraordinary story of a large, priceless diamond discovered and hidden by a fellow inmate, Solomon. Solomon, it seems, has been kidnapped by rebel forces, and forced to work as slave labor in the diamond quarries. His family has disappeared. In the diamond quarries, he finds the “Blood Diamond,” a large pink diamond, extremely rare and priceless in value. Just prior to his arrest, Solomon hides, then buries, the precious stone.

Upon his release, Danny is soon called to account by the colonel who gave him his start in the smuggling business. The colonel demands compensation for the diamonds that were seized during Danny’s arrest. Repayment of the debt is obligatory in this world, and Danny is compelled by the colonel to find the priceless gem to satisfy the debt. The consequences for not repaying the debt is death.

After much difficulty, Danny manages to recruit Solomon, but is dismayed to find that Solomon cares nothing for the stone. The stone’s only value to Solomon is its usefulness in finding his wife and children. So great is Solomon’s desire to find his family, that this becomes the condition to aiding Danny’s quest find the gem. Danny will help Solomon find his family, and in exchange Solomon will lead Danny to the diamond. Thus, the two men journey together, one to find the blood diamond, the other to find his family.

Danny is a complicated character. Dickinson profoundly described such a man as this: “Sadly, sadly, the sun rose; it rose upon no sadder sight than the man of good abilities and good emotions, incapable of their directed exercise, incapable of his own help and his own happiness, sensible of the blight on him, and resigning him-self to let it eat him away.” In the heat of Africa, with nothing apparently left inside him, Danny’s sin has truly eaten him away. Indeed, he eventually admits that he intended to steal the diamond, all along from Solomon, once the gem was recovered. This admission is part of his salvation. Solomon does not understand Danny’s ability to lie, to kill and to steal. When Solomon asks Danny if he will get married and have children, once they find the diamond, Danny immediately responds “no.” To this, Solomon tells Danny that he is confused. Why would you want to be rich if you only intend to spend the riches on yourself? In Solomon’s mind, money exists to allow men like Danny to marry and have children, how could Danny think otherwise?

Conversely, Solomon is single-minded in his desire to find and rescue his family from destruction. He is like the good Shepherd seeking that which is lost, and this is what moves Danny to change his heart, much like the doomed thief on the Cross who asks Messiah only to “remember” him in His Kingdom. Love is the unanswerable argument. Solomon lives for things worth dying for, while Danny does not. Danny is brought to this realization by the power of Solomon’s love for his son. To tell the reader more would be a major spoiler.

“Blood Diamond” is an excellent film, but it is not for the weak or faint of heart. The violence is graphic, but not gratuitous. The violence is extremely intense, and I can only recommend this film for a mature viewer. There is no sex in the film, not even a scene of kissing. Jennifer Connelly’s character acts as Danny’s bad conscience in her constant efforts to remind Danny that the his actions as a smuggler are helping fuel the insane, genocidal murder that characterized much of the black-on-black tribal violence of the 1990s. She is the voice of reason and of goodness. She weakens his hardened heart by the power of her goodness. She will not save him, however, for this is clearly left for another.

There are several uses of the Lord’s name in a profane manner. The F-word is used, though not as often as one would think. The film is rated “R,” mostly for the unrelenting evil, tragedy and sorrow depicted on film that dares to show what has become of Africa. I, myself, along with other audience members, was moved to tears, especially as the great drama of Solomon’s sacrifice and redemption is set in motion in the film’s final reel; it is clearly a move that changes the heart of the doomed mercenary.

Although the cinematography is breathtaking, it is not a perfect film. At times the dialogue, especially assigned to Jennifer Connelly’s character is a little cumbersome. DiCaprio’s acting is first-rate, but it seemed to me that he had trouble maintaining a consistent south African accent. These are small things considering the epic magnitude of Zwick’s vision. It is not pleasant to look at—the human suffering is staggering—but the film motivated me to pray more diligently for Africa and for the lost. I say this after having worked abroad with the suffering Church for several years. I left the film deeply moved, and eager to go much farther in a world so deeply and profoundly shrouded in violence and terrible darkness.

Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: None

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer Comments
Positive—I thought this was a very good and eye-opening movie. True the violence was over the top, but likely closer to fact than fiction. I am not a Dicaprio fan, but he was super and very believable, and Djimon Hounsou is fabulous. The movie focuses on the evil in mans' heart and how far certain people will go for the sake of vanity. I don’t want to give anything away, but the ending was touching.

If you are at all squeamish, I would recommend you watch something else, because this is violent, and the acts of torture are very hard to watch. Overall, though, I think you should see this movie (NO Kids!!!); it’s not a moral movie, although there are some moral people in it who give of themselves. As a Christian, I had a hard time with the language and violent nature of the film, however, missionaries probably see and hear far worse. I highly recommend this film.
My Ratings: Offensive / 4
Anthony, age 32
Positive—“Blood Diamond” definitely made me think. I am now praying for Africa, which was not on my priority list before. Also, I did leave the theater and go home to look up information about conflict diamonds on the Internet. Yes, it was a bit preachy, as some of the reviews have said, but made me appreciate being an American. Overall, I would recommend the movie, but some of the scenes of violence may be too vivid for some people, the images stick with you. Not for children.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 4
Cynthia, age 30
Positive—…it’s absolutely amazing. This is one of the best movies I have ever seen. It’s a wonderful film, action-packed, and a wonderful story as well. The film centers around two men one played by Leonardo DiCaprio and the other Djimon Houston. Dicaprio plays a selfish smuggler, and Houston plays a father who loses his family. Through an unfortunate set of events they are forced to work together and find a “blood diamond.” They have very different motives for finding it. The film is full of so many good things, every place you expect the movie to go bad, something good happens.

The acting is phenomenal I could have sworn I heard one woman in the audience crying. Dicaprio’s performance of a self-seeking man is one that makes Houston’s performance of a loving father stand out even more. The action in the film keeps it at a very good pace. It comes right out of nowhere, smacks you in the face, and then leaves you just enough time to recover before smacking you in the face again. The story is one of the best parts, because of this movie, because it not only touches on the human aspect of the people over in Africa but on consumers in America as well. We get to see what goes into the mind of some of the people. See all »
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
Chris Redd, age 20
Positive—I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. I never write reviews and find that movies are often stale, but this one is different, it’s fresh and intense. As far as content is concerned, it was rated appropriately. There were no sex scenes which was nice. This movie opened my eyes to a whole new world.
My Ratings: Offensive / 4½
Bob, age 25
Positive—Christians should watch this movie, and then watch Gloria Copeland and the “Word of Faith Movement” people boast about how God blessed them with diamond rings and Hollywood-style mansions. When the love of money is at the center of a Christian’s heart, there is sure to be devastating demonic deception. My mother spent thirty years of her life sending money to the T.B.N. crowd expecting God to make her wealthy in return, and she use to dream about the diamonds she was going to buy with her blessings.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4½
Eural Ray Jones, age 45
Positive—“Blood Diamond” is a powerful film, and the best picture I have seen in 2006. It combines action, drama and romance with a heart wrenching look at violence in Africa. The acting is superb. The story is captivating and builds to an emotional ending. There is a lot of violence and “Blood Diamond” is certainly not for children. Within 5 minutes you’ll know that this film is going to be intense. However, I thought the violence and language were not gratuitous—not inserted for entertainment, but instead to paint a realistic picture of the horrors of civil war. If you never pray for Africa you might just start after seeing this film.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 5
Todd Adams, age 39
Positive—This film is worth seeing! Great acting and the character development was very good. The violence was hard to see and too graphic. There was a lot of swearing also. The plot was intense but very real and this story definitely is one that needs to be told. I would see it again. This film is not for those who have a hard time with seeing graphic violence or for anyone under 16.
My Ratings: Average / 4½
Lisa Harman, age 42
Positive—It is a rarity these days that we see films that are set in Africa, which show the poverty, dictatorship, conscription, war and pain of a nation. “Black Hawk Down” depicted a war zone gone horribly wrong in Somalia in 1993, and “Hotel Rwanda” depicted the horrors of a country in civil war, and how citizens had to fend for themselves within that horror. Now there’s “Blood Diamond,” a thriller that promises and delivers in great style. This story centers around two men—one black, one white. Solomon (Hounsou) is a fisherman, raising a small family of a wife, son and two daughters. Danny Archer (DiCaprio) is a diamond smuggler by trade who wishes to profit through trade and flee Africa.

Archer is arrested for doing such a thing, and crosses paths with Solomon in a jail, after hearing rumors from an RUF commander that Solomon has found and hidden a diamond of rare value. With certain difficulty, Archer hires Solomon to find the diamond, but also finds that Solomon does not care for the diamond—he only wants to be reunited with his family. So Archer makes a compromise that he will help Solomon find his family in return of Solomon finding the diamond. But they are not the only ones interested in the diamond. See all »
My Ratings: Average / 4
Dave, age 21
Comments from young people
Positive—This movie was very powerful and well-acted. The violence, while graphic, was not gratuitous, in fact, it was necessary to portray the barbarism that characterized the civil wars in both Sierra Leone and Liberia. We in the western world still remain largely naive about the brutality of conflict on the African continent, sadly demonstrated through the international community’s continued lack of response to the current crisis in Darfur. The movie while making a political statement, still has a gripping and sustaining plot that keeps going until the end. This is definitely a thought-provoking movie; the contrast of beautiful natural scenery and the brutality of civil war is stark. This movie is well-worth the admission fee and hopefully gives you something to think about long after you have left the theatre.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4½
Noah Cabalona, age 15
Positive—“Blood Diamond” is a fantastic movie that certainly touched my heart. Its message of trying to tell people of the cruel process of getting a diamond is very powerful. The movie has so many action filled scenes all the way to the climax. I thought it has a good storyline too. The father is shown to anything done to have his family safe. It shows that the love of money brings so much destruction and death. We also get to see some of the conflicts going on in Africa. It shows us some things about diamond trade, child soldiers, rebels, and war conflicts going on in Africa. It is interesting while educational as well. Its graphics and pictures are great.

However, the movie shows a great deal of violence that might frighten kids and other people. This movie certainly has many offensive language usages. The main character also smokes constantly. Overall, I would certainly recommend “Blood Diamond” to mature audiences who are able to bear the violence and everything, even though it will be offensive to certain people.
My Ratings: Offensive / 4½
Eric Wan, age 15
Positive—I think this was an uncompromising movie about a reality, that sadly is present in this world. I admire movies like this that do not cover or filter realities like civil wars in Africa because in movies based on real events, the viewer has to know the raw, unfiltered truth to be able to react to it properly. Many people may be offended by the violence and foul language in the movie, but as many people have said, the violence is not exaggerated. The significant use of violence and foul language in this movie is very close to reality, this is what happens in Africa. This movie I think has shown me one of the most negative points of this world, points of murder, greed and devastation. I admire this movie because after watching it, I realize the true problems of the world around us. I think instead of hoping and praying that such atrocities in Africa are halted, we should all take action. After all, when I say “Action,” it can all start by making sure your engagement ring is “conflict-free.”
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
Eduardo Olondriz, age 13
Positive—Wow, I don’t even know where to start. It is just such an amazing film. My mom took me to see this for my 16th birthday, and I must say she was not too happy with my choice, which is an R-rated movie. Needless to say, this changed after the credits started rolling! The acting was very good, the camera work was awesome, the characters/the plot both made me think A LOT during the movie and after the movie. It is such a touching story. I would recommend that all see it! However, there were a couple red flags that went up in my head.

1. Language was pretty offensive, but well placed. I say this because in most movies they will drop any four letter word they can think of without thinking about it. In this one, the swearing was used in a brutal environment, so I was okay with it. The sexual references were totally un-needed, however.

2. I did not have a problem with the violence personally, but I can think of quite a few people that would. Is was VERY brutal, but it was also expected in a film like this. 3. There was some disturbing drug use that involved kids which was just down right gross. Also, the usual drinking/smoking. Well, in the end, I say do yourself a favor. See this movie. Don’t try to ignore what is going on in other countries. This is real stuff.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
Jeffrey, age 16
Comments from non-viewers
This is actually a review of the review …because of the initial review, I will see this movie in the theater. I saw the trailer when I went to see another movie and was not going to go to the theater to see it; I was going to wait for it to come out on DVD. Excellent review, hitting all the buttons regarding the sinful human condition, and why two people can be so different, and why we need salvation through Jesus Christ.

I love the quote in the review “Sadly, sadly, the sun rose; it rose upon no sadder sight than the man of good abilities and good emotions, incapable of their directed exercise, incapable of his own help and his own happiness, sensible of the blight on him, and resigning himself to let it eat him away.”

…an excellent review that has changed my mind about seeing this movie in the theater. Thanks!
Dave Bloch, age 48