Set against the backdrop of civil war and chaos in 1990’s Sierra Leone, Danny Archer, a South African mercenary, and Solomon Vandy, a Mende fisherman are joined in a common quest to recover a rare pink diamond that can transform their lives. While in prison for smuggling, Archer learns that Solomon–who was taken from his family and forced to work in the diamond fields–has found and hidden the extraordinary rough stone. With the help of Maddy Bowen, an American journalist whose idealism is tempered by a deepening connection with Archer, the two men embark on a trek through rebel territory, a journey that could save Solomon’s family and give Archer the second chance he thought he would never have.
This film is rated R for strong violence and the MPAA did not make a mistake in the rating! Children are shot, and also shoot others, blood is shed in many scenes, explosions mightily erupt, people burn, and since the movie is virtually about the violence in Africa, the slower paced scenes do not last long. To its credit, the storytelling of this film is pretty good and DiCaprio and Hounsou have a definite on-screen chemistry. Their relationship develops from Dicaprio’s character, Danny Archer, a mercenary seeking a diamond which Hounsou’s character, Solomon Vandy, has found, to a relationship which surprisingly ends in a sacrificial way. The notion of blood for diamonds is delivered like Thor’s hammer, and no one who views this film will leave without being touched in some way about how far greed can take some people. Still, it falls far short of family-friendly and therefore Dove cannot approve it for family viewing.