starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Djimon Hounson, Jennifer Connelly, Jimi Mistry, Michael
Sheen, Anthony Coleman, David Harewood, and Arnold Vosloo
screenplay by Charles Leavitt
directed by Edward Zwick
This is an excellent film, and only the second DiCaprio movie I have watched in which I actually liked him. Maybe he is becoming a far better actor as he gets older, or maybe it is just luck. But for most of his career to date I have considered him greatly over-rated. Set in Sierra Leonein 1999, during that country’s civil war, the story features the illegal sale of “conflict” or “blood” diamonds stolen from war zones to fuel arms purchases to continue conflict. And as a corollary, it features the role of child soldiers - children kidnapped by rebels and forced, or “pressed” into the soldier’s life - in African conflicts. There are still close to a quarter million child soldiers in that continent.
I already knew what conflict diamonds were before I saw the film, but I imagine it will be a lesson to a lot of viewers. Also, I have known since junior high school where Sierra Leone is. Ha!
Djimon Hounson (Gladiator), a native of Guinea, is a fantastic actor and one hell of a handsome guy. I have to add him to my list of favorite actors. My favorite actors are usually either bald (Stanley Tucci, Ed Harris, Bruce Willis) or black (Delroy Lindo, Sydney Poitier). Maybe it’s a fetish!
Predictably, the movie is chock-a-block full of fine African actors - blacks and whites. One of them is Arnold Vosloo, whom you will remember as Lord Imhotep from the two Mummyfilms (starring Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz). British actor David Harewood delivers an absolutely terrifying portrayal of a rebel captain.
Sierra Leone was a perfect example of a “failed state” eight years ago. But they just held a free presidential election there and the country’s steady recovery has justly been much heralded.