Blood Diamond Movie Poster Image

Blood Diamond

(i)

 

Extremely violent melodrama is not for kids.
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2006
  • Running Time: 138 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The movie offers strong messages about the consequences of the "conflict diamond" trade, but they're somewhat overshadowed by the characters' flaws and the constant peril and violence.

Positive role models

The hero starts out as a smuggler and killer and learns to be a good man, but the movie uses a too-famliar structure -- in which the white hero (African-born in this case, though played by U.S. star), retrieves his moral compass from, then saves, a dedicated black African father.

Violence

Constant stream of grenades, explosions, shooting, missile fire, whacking with machetes; frequent bloody bodies visible; children who have been kidnapped and conscripted as "soldiers" shoot and are shot; dismemberment (arm chopped off explicitly); prisoners in rough cages; militia members ride through towns in Jeeps, shooting at everyone in sight; children frightened and appalled by sight of dead parents; Dia (Solomon's son) is traumatized and trained to kill on command; goat's neck cut open, with diamonds hidden inside (bloody); massacre scene leaves many bloody bodies in street; Danny pulls a cap off a corpse to use as a disguise, then reveals he's a stone-cold assassin, killing several men efficiently.

Sex

Villain reads Hustler; Solomon strips naked to show he's not carrying the diamond (his torso remains in shadow); mild flirting between leads and a moment of close dancing; mention of Bill Clinton's 1999 impeachment (as "blowjobs-gate"); some shots show cleavage.

Language

Frequent use of "f--k," one powerful use of "kaffir" (African equivalent of the "N" word), plus other language, such as "s--t" and "ass."

Consumerism

Young African soldier wears a Snoop Dogg T-shirt; mention of Baywatch (as sign of American freedom) and National Geographic.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Frequent cigarette smoking; several scenes in bars or showing social and hard drinking; during a long hike, Danny says he needs to "quit smoking."

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this mature action-drama isn't for young kids (even though Leo lovers may want to see it). It's extremely violent, with frequent scenes of war and abusive labor practices (villagers' hands are chopped off and mineworkers are shot dead for disobeying orders). Weapons include guns, machetes, knives, grenades, missiles, Molotov cocktails, and AK-47s. Most upsetting: Young boys are kidnapped from their families and trained to kill, chanting "Shed their blood." The children also smoke cigarettes and drink. Displays of anger lead to arguments and fistfights. During a massacre scene, a body is thrown from a balcony, bodies spurt blood, and buildings explode. Characters drink frequently and smoke lots of cigarettes. Language includes many uses of "f--k" and one pronounced use of the African racist term "kaffir."

What's the story?

When devoted Sierra Leone husband/father Solomon Vandy's (Djimon Hounsou) family is dispersed by rebel militias and his young son Dia (Kagiso Kuypers) conscripted to serve as a child solider, Solomon is sent to work as a diamond miner. As luck has it, he finds a gigantic 100-karat "pink"; Zimbabwe-born solider of fortune Danny (Leonardo DiCaprio) happens to hear of this, and soon the two undertake a tense and untrusting agreement: Danny will help Solomon find his family ... and a buyer for the diamond. But Danny is set onto a moral-lesson-learning path -- not only by his relationship with Solomon, but also by a new friendship with U.S. reporter Maddy (Jennifer Connelly). Though she, too, distrusts Danny, she wants the story he can give her about the ins and outs of the illegal arms and diamond traffic. Danny dismisses Maddy's work in Sierra Leone and in other war zones as "writing about it" -- that is, observing and exploiting, just as he does. But she feels a passion for the cause, especially when she meets Solomon. Though Maddy is cynical about the effects of U.S media, she believes she can help by "writing about it." So she agrees to the plan: Danny will help her as she helps Solomon, and, in turn, Solomon will find his hidden diamond for Danny.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

BLOOD DIAMOND is equal parts earnest and muddled. While it does good work by bringing the lingering problem of African conflict diamonds back into the news, the movie itself is ungainly and retro, using white characters to illuminate the problem -- while also simplifying it. The film shows plenty of the effects of the diamond-and-arms traffic: battles and massacres involving a range of forces, from local militias to the Revolutionary United Front to the national military. The violence is horrific, and the effects are clearly devastating, but the focus on Danny's ethical education detracts from what seem like more urgent troubles (say, a million refugees).

The film does suggest that it understands its limits in several references to the racism that allows such systems of exploitation to persist and even thrive. Danny cajoles Solomon: "I know people, white people. Without me, you're just another black man in Africa, all right?" This is partly true, but the film makes this black man a figure for righteous vengeance, and his immediate targets are other black men in Africa, with large guns, bloody machetes, and scarred faces. White, designer-suited Europeans in Antwerp and London do appear as beneficiaries of the bloodshed, but they don't suffer the same sorts of visceral, audience-moving consequences as the villainous Africans.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the issue of "conflict diamonds." How is this problem similar to other ways in which people are exploited for resources, labor, or land?

  • How do Danny's morals change as he learns from the other main characters?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 7, 2006
DVD/Streaming release date:March 20, 2007
Cast:Djimon Hounsou, Jennifer Connelly, Leonardo DiCaprio
Director:Edward Zwick
Studio:Warner Bros.
Genre:Drama
Run time:138 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:strong violence and language

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Teen, 17 years old Written bysomehowimanage November 8, 2014

Hear this out

Well the first time that I had watched it was in a social studies class. And it is really eye opening, yes there is lots of violence, and with said violence comes swearing, which is acceptable for the situations depicted. But in the end, it's real life, and it's unfortunate but it happens all the time.
What other families should know
Great role models
Teen, 15 years old Written byMr Blonde January 29, 2014
Adult Written bywonder dove March 24, 2013

Powerful & Haunting.

I saw this film around when it first came out and let me tell you, it was the most terrifying thing I had ever experienced. Heart thumping, eyes wide open. So I bought the DVD as soon as it came out. It reminded me of those true stories told on Oprah years and years ago about real people from Africa talking about their daily lives living in fear...well this movie shows why. It is so heart wrenching, I can't even explain. It is also extremely sad because it involves a smart young African boy who's set on becoming a doctor but after a massive massacre...they take him and turn him into one of them, training him to kill whoever he comes into contact with. His father Solomon never gives up to find his son. It is almost painful to watch but too amazing to miss. It will stay with you for a long time! Language is very strong even used by young child soldiers. Violence is extreme and downright scary with frequent graphic and very violent shootings, injuries, people running and screaming for their lives, body parts chopped off, dead bodies everywhere, crying children...etc the list goes on. Sexual content isn't bad, has flirting. A child prostitute offers business with the main character but fails. One scene uses the "f" word in a sexual way and another being screw*d. Lots and lots of constant smoking mainly by the main character (Leo). Children are drugged and they also smoke. This film is an absolute must see, there's so much to learn here. But not for the light hearted! It will blow you away. Leonardo DiCaprio is simply incredible. Have some tissue near by because you will need it. Okay for mature 16+.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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