In "Blood Diamond," like "The Departed," it's clear that our "Titanic" boy-wonder is all grown up. But while Leo will most certainly be nominated for an Academy Award for the latter, "Diamond" will be lucky to hang around for more than a week at the cineplex.
That is in no way supposed to mean that DiCaprio, co-stars Jennifer Connelly and Djimon Hounsou ("In America") didn't turn in good performances in this indictment of the so-called "conflict diamond" trade, but Ed Zwick's film will probably not inspire any sweeping changes in the industry.
There's really not too much to like in the character of Danny Archer (DiCaprio), a selfish diamond smuggler looking for the big score.
And even though he ultimately does the right thing for his reluctant guide Solomon Vandy (Hounsou) in their quest for a huge pink stone that is both of their ticket out of Africa, it's hard to accept his leap from mercenary to missionary.
That said, Connelly's vast talents are under-utilized. Instead, Zwick holds lovingly on close-ups of her beautiful green eyes as they hold lovingly on DiCaprio's blue eyes, and after a while your own eyes will become heavy and hard to hold open.
One of the surprises in this film is the casting of Arnold Vosloo, who made his name playing the evil Marwan on "24" and commands equal presence as the corrupt Colonel Coetzee, who plays both sides of the illegal diamond trade.
"Blood Diamond" brings attention to the dark side of the precious gem industry, where brutal warlords draft young boys into militias and make them killing machines while their parents are enslaved and put to work as diamond miners.
It seems, in the film, that everyone in Africa is corrupt, and even the most sympathetic character, Vandy, is introduced to us as he stashes the giant pink stone under his toe.
And even though this is the film that diamond sellers supposedly don't want you to see, it's probably safe to say that the filmmakers, although well-intentioned, took care of that themselves.
Keeping It Reel?
"Blood Diamond" is too long, and aside from those full-screen statistics that run at the end of most "based-on-a-true-story" films, not very interesting.