Friday, September 28, 2007

Blood Diamond

Essentially a romantic adventure story with politics in the background--an old-fashioned movie, I suppose, but exciting and stunningly well made.

...starring Leonardo DiCaprio; a very nice lady with dark hair and blue eyes; and that big black dude who seems to have taken over from Morgan Freeman as Hollywood central casting's trusty African sidekick (I think he was Russ's buddy in
Gladiator). We have the upright honest villager trying to reunite himself with the family torn from him by the civil war in Sierra Leone (that's the African guy); hard-bitten soldier of fortune who's supposedly only in it for the money, but turns out to have a heart of gold (our Leo); and the cynical journo who wants to make a difference (the hot chick). (Tony Park)

For its flaws, Blood Diamond is a gem, if only for being an unusually smart, engaged popcorn flick.

...the movie doesn't have a single narrative surprise--you always know where it's going and why, commercially speaking, it's going there.

Blood Diamond is, in the vernacular of Old Hollywood, a rip-roaring adventure, the kind made in the ’30s with Clark Gable and the handiest leading lady on contract at MGM.

Blood Diamond is a by-the-numbers message picture, to be sure... But the director, Edward Zwick, is craftsman enough that the pace never slackens, the chase scenes thrill, and the battle scenes sicken. And if it makes viewers think twice about buying their sweethearts that hard-won hunk of ice for Christmas, so much the better.

There's no use griping about the superfluous white-on-white romance that generates so much dead space in Zwick's movie
[true but it’s not overdone], for without it Blood Diamond would never have been made. Which would be a pity, for as liberal hand-wringing goes, it's a winner.

...a Bogart-esque reluctant hero.
[It even pinches, but tweaks, the airport scene with Rick and Ilsa.] entry in the advocacy-entertainment genre, in which glamorous movie stars bring our attention to the plight of the less fortunate.

...part action film, part buddy movie, part love story, part political tract.

It's like watching
The Treasure of Sierra Madre as remade by "Nightline."

...the film should have ended with the phone call on the mountain. I don't want to spoil the movie for those who haven't seen it, and those who have will recognize the scene of which I speak. Everything after that feels like an afterthought just mashed in any old way and really detracts from the power of that scene.

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