Blood Diamonds is not entertaining. It
doesn't even try. It's just some asshole (Director Edward Zick)
using the Hollywood machine and pseudo-consciences that pop
up in the Grassfuckers during Oscar season to broadcast to us
unwashed masses how much he fucking cares about poor people
halfway around the world. I didn't get any sense that he really
does care, just that he wants us to know.
Leonardo diCaprio plays a weapons dealer who
trades with Sierra Leone rebels for diamonds that they collect
illegally and brutally. How brutally? Think "Foxy Boxing" night
at a halfway house. Actually, he's an active weapons dealer
for about three minutes, then he spends the rest of the movie
as a fucking tool, exploited by Ed Zwick to make a point that
was never in doubt, but that somehow makes him feel better for
He learns of a man (Djimon Honsou) who discovered
and hid a giant diamond while enslaved by the rebels. Honsou
is willing to trade the diamond to be reunited with his family:
a son taken by the rebels and a wife and two daughters in a
refugee camp. He also meets an American who represents everything
smug and unpleasant about telling others about your high morals
and superiority. That is a reporter played by Jennifer Connelly.
Never does a hot woman look less hot than when she is spouting
statistics off that annoying page of self-righteous horseshit
that Harper's puts into every issue. She has no personality
beyond spouting things that Ed Zwick really thinks he needs
to tell us.
For no apparent reason--and ignoring all her
own high-minded principals--Connelly falls for diCaprio's amoral
weapons dealer who is aiding and abetting the civil war bloodshed
she claims to despise. They go with Honsou on half a quest for
the diamond. Then diCaprio and Honsou dump the broad and go
dig up the diamond. A shitload of fighting ensues along the
way with virtually every fucking person near diCaprio, Connelly
or Honsou dying in a hail of bullets. But they never get hit.
I mean, we're talking more bullets than on New Year's Eve in
Alabama, and yet they are the only people who keep surviving.
Ultimately, Honsou does recover his diamond,
diCaprio grows a conscience right on schedule, and just before
dying from that last and perfectly scheduled bullet. As he lays
dying on a Liberian mountainside, he calls Connelly and makes
one last "heavy breather". It's so fucking romantic I thought
my nuts would explode.
But Honsou isn't done being exploited. First
it was by the rebels. Now it's by do-gooder Connelly who documents
his selling of the "blood diamond" for her magazine article.
Sure she gets fame, but more importantly, she can feed her insatiable
need to be a smug self-righteous piece of blah.
Not a God damn piece of action in Blood Diamond
feels real in any way. It all feels like an extension of Zwick's
desire to speechify and testify at how awful blood diamonds
are. And not because he feels it. More like he feels like he
wants a fucking little gold statue to shove up his ass. This
is Hollywood sensitivity as fake and self-righteous as Pay
it Forward. Wow, what a brave stance to take on blood diamonds,
because, you know, most of the world is all for senseless genocide.
The thing is, Zwick comes out strongly against death while jerking
off in the editing room to the incessant gunfights and explosions.
"Violence is bad: here's some to entertain you!"
What is more annoying is that Zwick makes the
villains cartoonishly bad and never gets at the issues that
can resolve the civil war. He just says we should stop buying
blood diamonds, which is about as obvious and non-controversial
a stance as you can take. Then, at the movie's end, he tacks
on a bunch of fucking morals written on the screen about how
it is the consumer's job to "insist" that the diamonds he buys
are not blood diamonds. What the fuck? Part of the movie is
spent explaining how the diamond cartels obscure the origination
of diamonds so they can say all of them are clean. Zwick doesn't
tell the audience how to distinguish blood and clean. Maybe
that's harder to do than gunfights and simplistic, self-satisfying
Zwick is like a bad high school history teacher
who just can't teach the material without adding his own editorial,
based on a Vanity Fair article he once read, because
he thinks the audience is dumb enough to eat it up. If you're
going to make a message movie, do it so cleanly that the audience
can't see the director and writer's grubby fingerprints everywhere.
One Fucking Finger for Blood Diamond,
another pile of Hollywood crap posing as a good deed. If anything
deserved an Oscar, it's this crap. That way Hollywood can pat
itself on the back for patting itself on the back.