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Edward Zwick
Leonardo DiCaprio, Djimon Hounsou, Jennifer Connelly
Writing Credits:
Charles Leavitt

A fisherman, a smuggler, and a syndicate of businessmen match wits over the possession of a priceless diamond.

Box Office:
$100 million.
Opening Weekend
$8,648,324 on 1910 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English PCM 5.1
English Dolby 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 143 min.
Price: $9.99
Release Date: 6/5/2007

• Audio Commentary with Director Edward Zwick
• Focus Points
• “Blood on the Stone” Documentary
• “Becoming Archer” Featurette
• “Journalists on the Front Line” Featurette
• “Inside the Siege of Freetown” Featurette
• Music Video
• Trailer


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Blood Diamond [Blu-Ray] (2006)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 29, 2020)

For a glimpse of issues that affected war-torn Africa in the late 1990s, we check out 2006’s Blood Diamond. The flick takes us to Sierra Leone and introduces us to Solomon Vandy (Djimon Hounsou) and his family.

An ongoing civil war rages and the violent Revolutionary United Front (RUF) forces assault Solomon’s village. His wife Jassie (Benu Mabhena) and kids manage to slip away, but the RUF captures Solomon and puts him to work in their diamond mining operations.

We learn that most countries have banned the import of so-called “conflict diamonds” from war-torn areas like Sierra Leone since they fund groups like the RUF. However, smugglers still manage to sneak out stones from the hot spots – smugglers like South African Danny Archer (Leonardo Di Caprio). This doesn’t always go smoothly, however, and Danny gets arrested.

In the meantime, Solomon discovers an enormous diamond. Despite the potential punishment of death for hiding a stone from the authorities, Solomon makes off with this gem and hides it in the woods. RUF leader “Captain Poison” (David Harewood) almost takes it from him, but an assault by government forces disrupts this exchange and sends Solomon to jail.

The same jail, as it happens, that currently contains Danny. When Poison demands to know the location of the diamond, Danny overhears it. Danny immediately schemes to get the stone for himself, and he arranges Solomon’s release to expedite this process.

While on the lam, the RUF abducts Solomon’s son Dia (Kagiso Kuypers) and forces him into military service. When Solomon finds the rest of his family and learns this, he resolves to find and rescue his son. Danny agrees to help with this – if Solomon gets him the diamond. The movie follows their dual pursuits as well as Danny’s interactions with sexy American reporter Maddy Bowen (Jennifer Connelly).

Right out of the gate, Diamond looks like it’ll become something special. The scenes with the RUF present a brutal look at the state of affairs, and the film launches us into a story that appears involving and intriguing. Yeah, the pairing of Danny and Solomon veers toward buddy flick territory, but it creates a good framework for the tale.

For the first act, we stay involved with the strong aspects of the story. However, Diamond slowly starts to unravel after that.

At its best, the movie becomes tense and dramatic, and the shots of the RUF child soldiers prove unsettling. Once we focus more on the various quests, though, the elements turn trite and dull.

This really becomes an issue in the third act. As Solomon and Danny pursue their goals, the flick turns into Lord of the Rings.

Walking, walking, walking - Diamond starts to feel more like an exercise video than a story. Danny and Solomon turn into Frodo and Sam as they head toward Mt. Doom. We even see Solomon carry Danny toward the end ala our favorite hobbits!

Another Rings tangent comes from the movie’s inability to end. I can’t say I’m wild about the multiple endings of Return of the King, but at least they act as the denouement of a true epic.

For Diamond, it just feels like director Ed Zwick doesn’t know when to say when. The film keeps going and going well past the end of our patience.

This connects to another problem with Diamond. As the movie progresses, it becomes less about characters and story and more about Making a Social Statement.

This seems most apparent during the never-ending finale, as it exists to pound us over the head with the film’s thoughts. We get it: Conflict Diamonds bad! Hey, I won’t argue they’re not, but Zwick doesn’t need to tattoo us with his theme.

Because of this, the characters go by the wayside to a large degree. Zwick sacrifices good narrative to make sure we get the point.

Not that the characters are ever particularly rich anyway. They exist as basic movie stereotypes: the mercenary who comes to care about something, the noble African, and the do-gooder journalist.

Hounsou made a career out of roles as the dignified African. He occasionally gets the chance to stretch in different parts, but this kind of character seems typical of his work.

Poor Connelly gets stuck as Zwick’s proxy. That means she winds up on the losing end of some terrible dialogue.

Maddy acts to remind the audience of all the issues related to the conflict diamonds. She’s essentially an expository character – a sexy one, but she doesn’t have much else to do in the movie.

Ultimately I think Blood Diamond ends up as a disappointment. It starts very well and has some interesting elements, but it fails due to its own preachy pretensions. The more we watch, the less we care, and the end product turns off the viewer in opposition to its actual goals.

The Disc Grades: Picture B-/ Audio B+/ Bonus B+

Blood Diamond appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This turned into a decent but erratic image.

For the most part, sharpness remained positive, though exceptions occurred. Wider shots tended to appear a bit soft and indistinct, a factor exacerbated by some light edge haloes.

Still, most of the flick appeared pretty well-defined, and I noticed no shimmering or jaggies. Print flaws seemed absent, though I detected some artifacting and a bit of a “digital” feel at times.

Colors tended toward a stylized green/brown impression, and these seemed fine. They didn’t dazzle, but the hues delivered the expected impression.

Blacks were mostly dark and deep, but shadows faltered somewhat, as low-light shots could seem a bit too thick. Though this was always a watchable – and often pleasing – presentation, the overall package felt like a “B-“.

No significant issues cropped up via the PCM 5.1 soundtrack of Blood Diamond, as the soundfield helped bring out a good sense of atmosphere. As one might expect, violent sequences used the spectrum in the most active manner.

Guns fired all around the room, and other instruments like trucks and helicopters zoomed from spot to spot with good clarity. General ambience was smooth and involving, while music showed good stereo imaging.

Audio quality seemed strong. Dialogue came across as natural and crisp, with no edginess or other problems.

Music sounded bright and bold, while effects were clean and realistic. Low-end response appeared more than satisfactory. Overall, this was a very good mix.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the original DVD? Audio offered greater breadth and involvement, while visuals appeared tighter and smoother. This wasn’t a great image but it improved on the DVD.

The package includes the same extras as the DVD as well as some new ones. In addition to the film’s trailer, we find an audio commentary with director Ed Zwick. He presents a running, screen-specific chat.

Zwick looks at bringing the story to the screen, the international nature of the production, sets, locations and issues connected to Africa, cast and performances, stunts and effects, research and facts, storytelling topics, cinematography, and some shoot specifics.

At no point does Zwick ever threaten to become a fascinating speaker, as he maintains a rather low-key, studious tone through the flick. Nonetheless, he covers the film well and gives us the requisite information we’d expect. Zwick gives us a pretty thorough look at Diamond and makes this a worthwhile commentary.

Blood on the Stone lasts 50 minutes, 19 seconds. Narrated by journalist Sorious Samura, the program looks at the history of “conflict diamonds” and their impact on Africa. We see how diamonds currently make it to market and attempts to prevent the sale of “conflict diamonds”.

We meet some former rebel soldiers and investigate the legality of various diamond mining and sales. Samura also gets involved with miners and others as he attempts to see how easy – or difficult – it would be to sell an illegal diamond.

Those elements make “Stone” a pretty good show. It doesn’t present us a great history of the issues, but it doesn’t really attempt to do so. It throws enough info our way to flesh out the topics, and Samura’s behind the scenes investigations add punch to the program. It provides a nice exposé of the current state of diamond smuggling.

Three featurettes follow. Becoming Archer goes for eight minutes, 34 seconds and brings notes from Zwick, stunt coordinator Paul Jennings, producer Marshall Herskovitz, and actors Leonardo Di Caprio and Jennifer Connelly.

We get notes about the characters as well as Di Caprio’s research, training and performance. Heavy on film snippets and light on insight, you won’t find much detail in “Archer”. It exists mostly to praise Di Caprio’s performance.

Journalists on the Front Line fills five minutes, 15 seconds with comments from Zwick, Connelly, Di Caprio, and Herskovitz. “Line” focuses on Connelly’s preparation for the part and her performance along with thoughts about real-life inspirations for Maddy. Ala “Archer”, “Line” feels fairly self-congratulatory and it comes with precious few interesting notes.

Finally, Inside the Siege of Freetown takes up 10 minutes, 33 seconds and includes Zwick, Samura, Di Caprio, Herskovitz, Jennings, executive producer Kevin De La Noy, producer Paula Weinstein, special effects supervisor Neil Corbould, supervising armorer Nick Komornick, 1st AD Nilo Otero, stunt supervisor Thomas Struthers and actor Djimon Hounsou.

The featurette looks at the recreation of the actual battle. We learn of the emphasis on reality plus various stunts and effects challenges. We also hear of storyboarding and planning.

After the two puffy prior programs, “Siege” works a bit better. Though it never becomes terribly detailed, it gives us a good overview of the appropriate concerns. We get a decent examination of the way the filmmakers filmed the big action sequence.

The disc also includes a music video for “Shine On ‘Em” by Nas. The clip mixes movie clips, lip-synching and images that illustrate the anti-conflict diamond theme. The video doesn’t totally succeed, but I admire that it tries to confront the “bling-bling” hip-hop culture to connect the bloodshed to the rappers’ flashy ways. This makes it more ambitious than most.

Exclusive to the Blu-ray, we find 22 Focus Points. These video clips fill a total of 46 minutes, four seconds and offer production diaries. These concentrate on shots from the set, and they also toss in comments from Zwick, De La Noy, Herskovitz, Samura, Otero, Jennings, Corbould, Hounsou, Weinstein, Connelly, Di Caprio, supervising art director Peter Wenham, environmental officer Brandon Pretorius, HOD greens Terry Chicken, locations Johan Van Huyssteen, construction coordinator Clive Pollick, costume designer Ngiila Dickson, off-set 2nd AD Geoff Dibben, supervising armourers Nick Komornicki and Simon Atherton, and actor Kagiso Kuypers.

As noted, these snippets take us to the various sets, and they offer a nice array of observations about various aspects of the production. They add to our understanding of the film.

At its best, Blood Diamond provides an involving look at how gem smuggling affects a war-torn country. Unfortunately, it doesn’t often stay at its best, as the movie degenerates into a trite and preachy tale before too long. The Blu-ray offers decent picture along with solid audio and an informative set of supplements. This is an inconsistent movie.

To rate this film visit the original review of BLOOD DIAMOND

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