Tag Archive: conflict


Leonardo DiCaprio is undoubtedly one of the best and most versatile actors working today, if not one of the best of all time. He is one of my favourite actors which is obvious to anyone who knows me seeing as how I own almost all of his films on DVD and have watched them all numerous times. But ever since I first watched Blood Diamond it has been, not only my favourite performance by DiCaprio but also, one of my favourite films and I genuinely believe it is one of the greatest films ever made, despite not being received incredibly well by critics (perhaps due to the source material).

Blood Diamond is a story of three very different characters and how their lives and journeys merge together because of the illegal diamond smuggling industry coming out of countries like Sierra Leone (where the film is set) and being financed by a (fictional) company named Van de Kamp back in London, England. The movie is described as a political war thriller and features several political strands, the title itself is an obvious reference to the name given to the diamonds that are sourced from war torn African countries which are sold to finance the conflict. There is also the prominence of children being forced to become soldiers in these war torn countries too. Blood Diamond was set during the Sierra Leone Civil War between 1996-2001 and released in 2006, yet these problems still exist in some African countries which makes the film just as relevant today and the issues it brings to the forefront of your mind even more relevant because nothing has really changed. But despite being a politically fuelled film I don’t believe that Blood Diamond rams issues down your throat and force feeds you opinions because at the heart of it is a very convincing and very entertaining, in the most dramatic sense, trio of heroes.

Leonardo DiCaprio is absolutely phenomenal as Danny Archer, a former mercenary turned diamond smuggler, and upon release of Blood Diamond he received a huge amount of praise for his authentic South African accent. Archer is the anti-hero, yes he helps Solomon find his family but only because of his own motives to retrieve the huge pink diamond Solomon found, steal it, sell it and get away from the conflict to live a very rich and extensive lifestyle elsewhere. DiCaprio was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor for the film. His co-star, Djimon Hounsou who plays Solomon Vandy, a fisherman captured by the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and forced to work to find diamonds while his family go on the run, his son later being captured and forced to become a deadly warrior. Hounsou got the nod at the Oscars for Best Supporting Actor but I would argue that here Vandy is the main character and it is not DiCaprio’s Archer because it is Vandy we get to know first and it is his story that we care about. Hounsou’s emotionally fuelled performance is one of the best I’ve seen and he really was terrific! Finally Jennifer Connelly completes the trio and she plays Maddy Bowen, a journalist who is trying to expose the illegal conflict diamond trade and change things. Her crush on Danny Archer is mutual and they help each other out a lot throughout the film. Bowen actually helps the character development of Danny Archer; their romantic subplot does not seem forced and thankfully there isn’t a ridiculously placed kiss before Archer leaves just to keep Hollywood happy. The development that Archer goes through over the course of Blood Diamond is a really brilliant arc: in the beginning he is a man out for himself just wanting to make money, but as the film goes on he eventually turns into the guy willing to sacrifice himself so that his new friend (Vandy) can escape with his son and change his life as well as many others too. The relationship between Archer and Vandy is really interesting to watch and grabs your attention right form their first meeting.

The action is fantastic and David Harewood is brilliant as the warlord Captain Poison. For a man who spent most of his career working on British television series’ including Casualty, The Bill, Doctor Who and Hustle it really is quite an exceptional role that he got and a performance that matches those of DiCaprio and Hounsou. But the highlight of the film for me is when Solomon Vandy is reunited with his son Dia. What should be an incredibly happy and joyous moment is taken in a completely different direction by Blood Diamond and it was fantastic to watch. You’re wondering what is going to happen since Dia has been brainwashed into a cold hearted killer but the moment they reunite is beautifully written and is a masterpiece of acting.

Blood Diamond may not have been the most well received film but it is definitely one of my favourites and no doubt always will be. The storyline, the characters, the acting is perfect. I cannot recommend Blood Diamond highly enough!

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Fanboys exist in all walks of life however it is a term most often seen associated with fans of comic books and comic book movies and this should come as no surprise as this group, despite being still looked down upon as nerds or geeks by a large number of people, are one of the most vocal about expectations of a film, especially on internet forums. This arises out of fear: fear of one of their most beloved characters or teams from the comic books that they have read for decades (Batman, X-Men, Incredible Hulk) will be ruined by a big screen adaptation because the wrong actors/actresses will be cast, the writer won’t know the source material or because things in the movie won’t be EXACTLY the same as they appear in the comic books. I would willingly describe myself as a fanboy, I kicked off (and still do) that in X-Men: The Last Stand Beast’s blue fur is part of his mutation, that Juggernaut is a mutant, that Juggernaut is not Professor X’s brother among many other things but I am not as extreme as some fans. An example being when Hugh Jackman was cast as Wolverine there was outrage because Hugh Jackman is a good foot taller than Wolverine’s comic book height; Wolverine went on to become synonymous with the X-men movie franchise and is, to date, Jackman’s most iconic film role. But that doesn’t mean that everything fanboys do is negative.

It is because of fanboys that these huge blockbuster films are possible; if the comic books never achieved a following in the first place then the characters would never have become known to mainstream audiences and would never have turned in to icons of the silver screen like they have done today. The characters owe their movie adaptations to these very fanboys. It is also these fanboys that will go and see films like The Dark Knight and The Avengers five, six or even as many as ten times! They’re passionate about what they love but if you do it right then you can win fanboys over forever, do it wrong and you will most likely be demonised and thought of as the spawn of Satan himself every time your name is mentioned.

Fans had every right to kick off when the might Galactus was represented as nothing more than a cloud in Rise of the Silver Surfer.

Among the majority of Batman films Christopher Nolan is held up as a God. He took their beloved Bruce Wayne and transferred his persona to the screen with all these very fine similarities to his comic book character without sticking directly to the source material. And if Christopher Nolan is God then Joel Schumacher is surely the devil; his camped up Batman & Robin with the infamous bat-nipples are often thought of a the worst comic book movies ever made. Other films to incur the wrath of the fanboy include X-Men: The Last Stand (as mentioned earlier), X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Hulk, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer and one of the worst movies I have ever seen, Catwoman. Get them wrong and they can be really really horrible creations but if handled in the correct way a masterpiece can be achieved (see Iron Man, Batman Begins).

Whilst fanboys have their good parts as well as their bad points the real thing that annoys me about them is the rivalry between DC fans and Marvel fans. Of course, most of these people will watch films made by both companies and enjoy the characters. I read mainly Marvel comic books but I can sit and enjoy the Batman films more than some of the Marvel ones because I am a film fan most of all. But a minority of fans (we’re talking hardcore ‘Nolanites’ and ‘Whedonites’) will only see DC films or Marvel films (whichever they read) and will go out of their way to boycott the rival films, meaning that some pour souls out there have limited themselves to only seeing one of either The Dark Knight Rises or The Avengers which are two of the best films I have ever seen, let alone of this year.

Two examples of internet memes created by Whedonites and Nolanites.

The extent of the rivalry should be put aside in favour of the huge spectacles that are brought to the big screen and while sometimes the fanboy community can go over the top in it’s dislike for a film, their passion should not be simply dismissed.