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When the paths of mercenary diamond smuggler Zimbabwe born Danny Archer (Leonardo DiCaprio) and fisherman Solomon Vandy (Djimon Hounsou) cross in a short prison spell in Sierra Leone, their futures are bound together. Solomon has been forcibly taken from his family and his village to mine diamonds for illegal exportation, and has found a remarkable, giant pink stone, which he hides. News of the find reaches Danny and he engineers to have Solomon lead him to the treasure - his escape ticket from Africa. But Danny isn't the only one aware of the stone. When he meets crusading US journalist Maddy Bowen (Jennifer Connelly), trying to uncover the facts, Danny is forced to contemplate his actions. Meanwhile the civil war between rebels and Government forces is killing thousands of innocents and even children are recruited and brainwashed. Solomon agrees to help Danny find the hidden diamond in exchange for his family, but nothing is simple in Africa.

Review by Louise Keller:
Everyone uses everyone in Blood Diamond, a blistering political thriller that scratches furiously in Africa's red soil to reveal what is priceless. The soil is red from blood, we are told and while diamonds, the world's hardest and most valuable precious stones may symbolise love and eternity to many, to those who work the mines in Sierra Leone, the multi-faceted gems symbolise death and terror. To Leonardo DiCaprio's ruthless ex-mercenary Danny Archer and Djimon Hounsou's gentle fisherman Solomon Vandy, partners brought together by circumstance and necessity, the huge, flawless pink diamond at the centre of the story means totally different things. It's the ticket to freedom for Danny, while for Solomon, it is the means with which he can reunite his family. We meet two strong characters and witness two extraordinary performances in a dense and complex film that explores right from wrong and weak from strong.

Killing is a way of life for both Danny and Solomon, but for different reasons. Danny is a real operator, a wheeler dealer who works with people he doesn't trust. Damaged at an early age, Danny knows the ropes and has no qualms to use every means available to him. Solomon, by contrast, is a peaceful family man who will do anything to protect those he loves. Jennifer Connelly's American correspondent Maddy Bowen is an action junkie who thrives on being in a constant state of crisis. Her desire to write a meaningful article that will make a difference is her motivation, and in Danny, she sees at last she has an opportunity. The development of all the relationships is meticulously detailed. The balance of power changes constantly, creating malleable tension.

It's violent, disturbing and the scenes of children being trained to kill, vehemently shocking. Watching the youngsters being brainwashed, blindfolded and told to pull the trigger, is witnessing a shattering loss of innocence. DiCaprio is better than ever, with an unnervingly authentic African accent (I recognize it as I grew up in Rhodesia) and an edgy characterisation that takes us on a wildly emotional journey, while Hounsou slits open his every reserve as he gives his all. There are thrills, double crosses and plenty of opportunities to be enveloped in the lush, dense and harsh African landscape. The story has special resonance in this political climate and Edward Zwick's film has a startling and dramatic effect.

Available on single or double disc DVD, features include director's commentary, a featurette following the path of a diamond from the ground to the store. Plus there is a profile of Leonardo DiCaprio and how he trained for the war, Jennfer Connelly on Women Journalists at war, a feature on how Ed Zwick tackled the pivotal scene and music video.

Published May 17, 2007

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(US, 2006)

CAST: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Connelly, Djimon Hounsou, Michael Sheen, Arnoldo Vosloo, Basil Wallace, Ntare Mwine, Caruso Kuypers, David Harewood

PRODUCER: Edward Zwick, Gillian Gorfil, Marshall Hersokovitz, Graham King, Darrell Roodt, Paula Weinstein

DIRECTOR: Edward Zwick

SCRIPT: Charles Leavitt


EDITOR: Steven Rosenblum

MUSIC: James Newton Howard


RUNNING TIME: 143 minutes




SPECIAL FEATURES: Single Disc: Director's Commentary; Theatrical Trailer.[BREAK]Double Disc Special Edition: Blood on the Stone (50 mins) Follow the path of a diamond from the ground to the store. Becoming Archer - A profile of Laonardo; Journalism on the Front line - Jennifer Connelly on women journalists at war; Inside the Siege of Freetown - Ed Zwick tackles the pivotal Scene. Music video

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Warner Home Video

DVD RELEASE: March 16, 2007

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