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A critical review of the film “Blood Diamond” Essay (Critical Writing)

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Updated: Apr 25th, 2019

Blood diamond is a 2006 film whose theme is the financing of war using revenues from diamonds attained through blood in Sierra Leone, an African country, which has been engulfed by war in the last two decades due to the diamonds. Blood diamonds are diamonds mined from war zones, through killing and enslavement of people to work in the mines and then sold to finance the war in the same areas.

The lead actor of the film is Leonardo DiCaprio, (Danny Archer) supported by, Djimon Hounsou, (Solomon Vandy) and Jennifer Connelly (Maddy Bowen). It was directed by Edward Zwick and set in Sierra Leone, showing a country where government forces are in conflict with rebel forces.

The film starts with the capture of Solomon Vandy a Mende fisherman, by rebels so that he can work in the mines to get diamonds, which the rebels’ trade to get funds for the war while the workers get nothing. On the morning he is captured as he was escorting his son to school whereby, he had dreams of him becoming a doctor one day, but his dreams are shuttered when the rebels appear.

The rebels start to shoot from every direction to stop people from escaping, and then they cut people’s arms to prevent them from voting in the coming elections and at this time Vandy is captured. At the mines, Solomon gets a large diamond which he tries to and hide in the bushes, the captain sees him and before he gets to him, government forces attack and they are all arrested and taken to Freetown, the capital city of the country.

Danny Archer a white and former army soldier born in Zimbabwe exchanges war arms for diamonds with the rebels. One day he is found with the diamonds in Liberia while on his way to deliver them to South Africa to Colonel Coetzee, his former army commander who in turn sells them to Van de Kaap, the chief executive of a diamond company in South Africa.

In prison he listens to the captain questioning Vandy about the diamond and when he is released, he arranges for him to be released too so that he would sell him the diamond. Danny promises Vandy that he will help him find his family which was displaced during the war in return for the diamond. They look for an American journalist, Maddy Bowen who can help them get to his family but for a price (Janine, 2003).

Bowen refuses to help Danny until he agrees to give her information about the diamond business which she would publish so as to stop the trade. Danny agrees to the deal and gives her information about the South African company. She manages to get transport to take them to Kono where the diamond is hidden but before they live she takes them to a UN camp to find Vandy’s family. The daughters and the mother are there but Dia his son, is missing, he is informed that the rebels took him away.

Their journey to Kono is not an easy one because on the way they are attacked by the rebels, but they are able to escape and also it was tiring because they had to walk up and down the hills and valleys of Africa’s landscape. They eventually arrive at the mining camp where Vandy hid the diamond, and at this point he is united with his (young rebel now) son who had been completely brainwashed and he was even ready to kill his father.

It is a painful moment as Vandy tries to get his son to remember him, he also encounters captain poison who instructs him to get the diamond for him or else he would kill his son. Mercenaries from South Africa arrive who are also after the diamond; they attack from the air and kill everyone at the mine while at the same time Vandy murders the Captain with a mining shovel.

Colonel Coetzee turns to Danny and orders him to tell Vandy to bring the diamond. As Vandy digs to get the diamond, Danny kills colonel and his two officers because he was suspecting they would kill him after they had the diamond in their hands. Vandy is able to get the diamond soon enough before the other mercenaries get to them and they run away from the mine but Danny was shot in the in the chest damaging his lungs.

He realizes that he will not survive for long and he gives back the diamond to Vandy, then he calls Bowen and pleads with her to assist Vandy sell the diamond and he dies. The film ends with a meeting in South Africa in which the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme is signed, an event that actually occurred in the year 2000 in Kimberley, South Africa (Bell, 2000).

This film clearly tackles the issue on ethics, and the causes of conflict in life, by specifically showing how resources are used to finance conflict especially in African countries, leading to destruction of people’s life and their families. It is also very devastating to see how young children are recruited into war, hardened to kill even their own parents, and they used to perform evil for their masters.

People are enslaved by their fellow country men to mine for diamonds which do not help them or their families; instead they are subjected to poverty and misery as their dreams are shuttered by war. All this actions are against human rights and should not be happening in this century when we have so many humanitarian organizations that could have prevented these events, but instead they watched as it happened and came in too late when the worst had happened.

Hundreds of witnesses have testified that the happenings captured in the film are real as presented, the amputation of people’s hands, raping of women, burning homes, villages and recruiting children into rebels are all events that happened hence, the film was a success in exposing the blood diamonds trade. The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme was a major step in stopping the trade that has claimed many lives, destroyed families and left others psychologically ill (Guy, 2000).

Reference List

Bell, U. (2000). “Sierra Leone: Building on a Hard-Won Peace”. UN Chronicle, Online Edition (4). Web.

Guy, A. (2000).The New South Africa.NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Janine, P, R. (2003). Glitter & Greed: The Secret World of the Diamond Empire. The Disinformation Company, 233.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "A critical review of the film “Blood Diamond”." April 25, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/a-critical-review-of-the-film-blood-diamond/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'A critical review of the film “Blood Diamond”'. 25 April.

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