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In last weeks Oscar nominations Leonardo DiCaprio receieved another nomination for best actor, strangely not for The Departed but for Blood Diamond, having now seen both I think they got it wrong. Also nominated was Djimon Hounsou, in the best supporting catergory, and this was deserved as he is one of the best things in this film, I thought he was great in Speilberg’s Amistad and always gives great performances. So to the film that unites these two, Blood Diamonds deals with the problem of conflict diamonds coming out of Africa. In many African countries civil wars have broken out over these rare stones which when sold can help fund their battles. Blood Diamond is set in Sierra Leone in 1994, Djimou Hounsou’s Solomon Davey has been taken away from his family by the RUF to work in the diamond mines where upon he finds an extremely rare pink diamond, during an army raid he hides the diamond and is jailed. Here he meets Dicaprio’s Danny Archer, a smuggler who has been taking diamonds out of the country for European dealers. Hearing of his elusive diamond he agrees to help him find his family in exchange for him revealing the location of the diamond. With the help of reporter Maddy Bowen (Jennifer Connelly) they set off across the war torn country to find the diamond and Solomon’s family. During this time Solomons son has been recruited and brainwashed by the rebels, turned into a soldier. This is a film that has a message but is hidden behind your typical Hollywood action and speeches, don’t get me wrong it does it well though. It is surprisingly violent and also pretty shocking from the gunning down of the villagers near the start of the film to seeing young children mowing people down with Ak47’s.  All the cast give good performances, even Leo’s accent isn’t bad, and as mentioned earlier Djimou is excellent with a real presence on screen. Behind the camera, Edward Zwick keeps the action rolling but giving enough time to story and character development, much like his previous film The Last Samurai. It doesn’t quite reach the heights of that film, but is still worth checking out if you like a good thriller. Rating 6/10

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