24 March 2007

Blood Diamond and the New Breed of Action Movies

This weekend, Blood Diamond is showing at the campus theater. Having nothing better - well, more entertaining - to do, I checked it out. While it certainly contains the average action movie fare of the past however many years - explosions, romance, gun fights, and car chases - it also had something much more important. As many know, Leonardo DiCaprio, the pretty boy of Titanic (and to my sister, no, he is not the something more), in it. To my surprise, he was not the protagonist. He didn't even become a "good" guy until the last few scenes of the movie. There were really only three "good guys" in the entire movie: the protagonist, a local fisherman named Solomon (played by Djimon Hounsou) who's only goal is to survive and save his family; an American reporter (Jennifer Connelly) attempting to stop a bloody civil war by exposing the blood diamond trade financing it; and a local teacher working to save child soldiers from their captors, the Revolutionary United Front (RUF)

Based loosely on the civil war in Sierra Leone between the government and RUF, Blood Diamond presents villains who, much like the latest Bond villain in Casino Royale, are trying to get rich, not take over the world. The movie also attempts and, in my mind, succeeds at exposing the horrors of the many African civil wars. Child soldiers (see: Invisible Children), the targeting of civilians, the refugee slums, the apathy of the outside world, and western concerns for resources over human lives, are all major themes of the movie.

I highly recommend it and hope that it signals a new era for action movies, movies that have points to make rather than dollars.

Rock on.

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