Sunday, March 25, 2007

Well, he made up for Titanic.

Someone went out and got a copy of the movie 'Blood Diamond' with Leo DiWhoozit.

Set during in Sierra Leone during the 1999 civil war (incidentally, why do they call them "civil" wars? Having been through a couple, I can attest that there isn't anything "civil" about them) this movie focuses on the trade in "conflict diamonds" that helped fuel that war.

I admit to some trepidation -- when I discovered that Leo's character was intended to be Rhodesian, I had flashbacks to Keanu Reeve's bastardized "British By Way Of South Cali" Valley Dude accent in 'Bram Stoker's Dracula'.

Arrggh.

I needn't have worried. The boy did his research, and while his Rhodesian accent isn't as perfect as many web-sites claim -- it's more of a generic Southern White African accent to my ear -- it is done rather well, and the slang he uses is almost perfect.

What he does nail dead-on is a brief use of what the movie calls "creole", but that we always referred to as "bush" or "pidjin" -- the pidgin English that is the lingua-franca of West Africa.

The movie manages to capture the brutality and barbarism of the Sierra Leone donnybrook -- the scenes of the young boys being indoctrinated into the RUF are particularly wrenching -- without being too over the top. Folks with weak stomachs might want to keep their eyes closed during some parts, though.

Our boy manages to pull off the world-weary soldier/mercenary quite well, and he paid attention to his shooting and tac instructors.

Just as an aside, I spotted a tat on DiWhazzits shoulder which I thought I recognized as a fairly famous SADF ID patch. Turns out I was right.

Jennifer Connelly pulled off her role as a reporter well -- truth be told, I didn't recognize her at first, which says good things about her abilities as an actress.

Djimon Hounsou gave a solid performance as the fisherman who only wants his son back.

I have a couple of minor nit-picks with the movie. A minor point in the movie revolves around the catch-phrase "This Is Africa" or "TIA". I don't ever recall hearing that catch-phrase in my years on the Dark Continent. The phrase I do remembering hearing -- and using -- is "Africa Wins Again", which would have fit the scenes much better.

The other nit-pick I have is that the film should have ended with the phone call on the mountain. I don't want to spoil the movie for those who haven't seen it, and those who have will recognize the scene of which I speak. Everything after that feels like an afterthought just mashed in any old way and really detracts from the power of that scene.

Oh, well. That's probably why I'm not a director.

'Blood Diamond' gets a Paw of Approval as being, "Not a bad little flick."

LawDog

10 comments:

Ulises from CA said...

(incidentally, why do they call them "civil" wars? Having been through a couple, I can attest that there isn't anything "civil" about them)

They're called civil wars because the "civis", or civilian population, go to war on each other instead of the "miles, milites", or soldiers, going to war on ther with other countries. There is NOTHING elegant or refined about regular wars & civil wars bastardize even that.

Perhaps what Iraq needs is the return of the Jannisaries. Certainly, a lot of mumbo-jumbo reliouious excuses would be removed forwith.

But that's another story.

BoonDock said...

Well spotted on the 32Bn Tat..

Sortof agree on the TIA comment, but I think it does fit, although the one I know better is "Africa is a tough continent" or "Africa is not for sissies" or even more often "Welcome to Africa" (said with great irony and often followed with "Now Go Home")

Anyway, good post and good points on the movie..
Alles van die Beste
John

garys said...

I had no intention of wasting any effort watching this movie since I generally don't watch any movie that has LD in it, or was made in the past 20 years or so. With certain exceptions, of course.

Your review has created one of those. Thanks.

Desertrat said...

I recall a novel from some forty years back involving Peace Corps volunteers in western Africa. A newbie was introduced to "WAWA" after running into some cultural problem. "What's that mean?" "West Africa Wins Again."

Art

Zundfolge said...

So what about the politics of the film?

I'm sick unto death of leftist propaganda masquerading as entertainment and thats why I've avoided this movie (I figure with lefties like DiCaprio and Connelly in it, its got to be a "message movie").

If the political message part of the movie is not dominant (or is easily ignored) maybe I'll give this one a rent.

LawDog said...

So what about the politics of the film?

I didn't notice a political message, although -- truth be told -- I may have been too busy feeling homesick.

RobC said...

Well blow me down! My mate vistis this blog too! (waves to boondock) Klein wereld!
Since you liked the movie LD I may just rent it now... I always find it a tad irritating when non Seffrikens play the part of us pigmentally disadvantaged afrikans but sounds like this may be an exception. :-)

Dr. StrangeGun said...

Folks pick on DiCaprio, but in actuality he's a top-notch actor... disappears into his role. Ever see him as Howard Hughes?

Bradley said...

if you liked LD in this one, you should see either the departed or the aviator, both top notch films, and LD just melts in to the rolls, and both of them are very well done.

Anonymous said...

IIRC the term "blood/conflict diamonds" is a term that was first used by De Beers because they weren't getting their cut of the diamonds mined in those countries during the "wars" there.

And as much as leo's politics suck, he is a fair to middlin' actor.