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PCR # 350  (Vol. 7, No. 49)  This edition is for the week of December 4--10, 2006.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"Blood Diamond"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith
Four stars

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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The Fabulous Architecture of the Tampa Bay Region, Part One  by Will Moriaty
"Blood Diamond"  by Mike Smith
The Josh Sullivan Art Show  by Nolan B. Canova
On a Personal Note: The Return of Doug Deal  by Nolan B. Canova
Movie Theater Memories  by Andy Lalino
A Rocking Good Time....Theater Memories....It's Awards Time....Yeah I Say That All The Time.... My Favorite Films, Part 49: "Love Actually"  by Mike Smith
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Warner Brothers     
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Djimon Hounsou and Jennifer Connelly
Directed by: Edward Zwick
Rated: R
Running Time: 2 hours 20 mins

Director Edward Zwick is responsible for two of my favorite films, "About Last Night" and "Glory." So it was with great enthusiasm that I took in "Blood Diamond." And I was greatly rewarded for my effort.

The story begins in Sierra Leone in 1999. A national conference is being held to discuss the mining of "conflict diamonds." These are stones that have been discovered and then sold or used in trade for weapons to outfit many of the rebel organizations in Africa. The leaders of these groups are merciless, storming into villages and killing all in sight at the drop of a hat. In one of these villages lives Solomon Vandy (Hounsou), a fisherman who sends his son off to school every morning in the hopes the boy will become a doctor. When his village is attacked, Solomon's wife and children escape but Solomon is taken prisoner and forced to mine for diamonds. When government soldiers battle with the rebels, Solomon is arrested and put in jail.

In another part of this vast continent, mercenary Danny Archer (DiCaprio) is attempting to smuggle some diamonds and ends up in jail for his trouble. While there Danny overhears that Solomon had found, and hidden, a large, pink diamond. Needing the diamond to appease his bosses, who weren't happy that the diamonds Danny was smuggling were confiscated, Danny and Solomon become wary partners in what will prove to be the adventure of their lives.

What an excellent film! Director Zwick and cinematographer Eduardo Serra ("Unbreakable") have managed to capture the vast beauty of Africa while maintaining a true sense of dread and horror that manages to take over the story. Solomon's son, Dia (Caruso Kuypers) is soon made part of a rebel leader's gang, where he's taught to shoot a weapon and obey all orders. These young boys, no older then 12, are soon patrolling the streets and giving themselves names like Born Trouble, Master of Disaster and Baby Killer. Danny meets a reporter (Connelly) who's trying to break the conflict diamond story. She knows Danny by reputation and hopes that he'll shed some light on the situation. They are also strongly attracted to each other. That the romance doesn't seem forced or out of place is a testament to the talents of DiCaprio and Connelly. Equally strong is Hounsou, who adds another fine performance to his resume. An Oscar nominee for his work in 2002's "In America," his performance here should bring him nomination number two.

"In America, it's bling bling," Archer tells his reporter friend. "But here it's bang bang!" On a scale of zero to four stars, I give "Blood Diamond"  Four stars

This week's movie review of "Blood Diamond" is ©2006 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2006, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2006 by Nolan B. Canova.