Monday, February 22, 2010

#58 Blood Diamond: T.I.A.

2006. dir. Edward Zwick, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Connelly, Djimon Hounsou.

Seen it before? I tried once, but I fell asleep about 30 minutes in.

So you remember those anti-drug PSA's from a few years ago, where they link the money spent on drugs to terrorism? We all laughed at it, but it's sort of true. The Taliban does get a lot of profit from the heroin trade. Of course, by the logic of the PSA, there are lots of other things that you shouldn't buy - oil, gold, sugar, coffee, and as this movie bears out, diamonds.

It's 1999, and there is a civil war in Sierra Leone. Djimon Hounsou plays a fisherman. One day the rebels show up, burn his village down, and force him to work in the diamond fields. Oh yeah and they force his son to become a child soldier. So he finds a 100-carat diamond, which he hides. Leonardo DiCaprio plays a smuggler who helps him sell the diamond and reunite with his family. (of course he's mostly just trying to exploit him.) Also Jennifer Connelly plays a journalist who's sort of judgmental and useless.

I should point out that this is a rare movie where DiCaprio isn't very good. I blame his half-assed attempt at a South African accent - it makes his Southie accent in The Departed sound convincing, that's how bad it is.

This is a good movie, but not an enjoyable one. Lots of terrible things happen like people getting shot and their hands getting chopped off. The film looks terrific; they show these beautiful shots of Africa, with the mountains and the wildlife, and you think, "Oh, I'd like to visit there!" But then a truckload of guys with AK-47's drive by and you think, "Uh, never mind." Even the ending, while happy for Djimon Hounsou, is kind of a downer, because you realize he only got out because he was incredibly lucky, and that everybody else is still totally screwed over, and there's still a refugee camp with a million people living in tents. T.I.A., I guess.

Position on the list: Not there anymore - bumped by The Truman Show
Sorry honey: This is why I don't buy you diamonds for your birthday. I'll get you some nice clothes made in Sri Lankan sweatshops instead.

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