I really wanted to watch this movie though. I'm not sure why. I knew it would be violent and disturbing. I was right.
Immediately into the movie I fell in love with the lead character, Solomon. He's absolutely gorgeous for one thing. And his whole family is just so cute. A wife and three children. He's a fisherman with a son who should someday become a doctor...walking to school while his father works.
And then all hell breaks loose. Children soldiers, rebel terrorists trained to kill, attack their village. The wife and children barely escape and Solomon is captured, escaping the fate of having his hands chopped off by only seconds. He's strong and so is sent to work at a diamond mine.
In order for the movie to continue, of course he finds a big honkin' diamond, which he buries. Unfortunately one of the rebels sees him do it and therefore it's no longer a secret. I won't give away the rest of the story ... it's fascinating and disturbing.
And very, very graphic. Do NOT watch this movie with young children or if you have a sensitive stomach. Lots of bullets, innocent people - including children - shot down as they run. Bodies hanging, being pulled behind cars, beaten, raped.
Done mostly by children. I think that is part of the really disturbing thing. I'm used to seeing graphic things and am pretty immune to it but when you see young boys doing these things it turns your stomach. While the movie is just a movie...I know that there ARE really children soldiers out there. They are pumped with drugs and made to think that they are kings, invincible killers. Of course, to those in charge they are expendable and replaceable.
Oh, did I mention that Solomon's son is torn from his mother's arms and kidnapped to be one of these soldiers?
Leonardo DeCaprio did a really great job. He was quite hot himself but a total mercenary and seemingly cold blooded. By the end of the movie you'll like him though. :) He saves Solomon's life several times...although it was for selfish purposes.
Is the story itself true? I have no idea. I'm sure that all of the details have at some point occurred, though many I'm sure come from a writer's imagination. I have no doubt that all are based on fact somewhere.
Can I stomach buying a diamond in the future? I don't know. Maybe if it is proven to be directly from Canada or something. But how can it be proven that a diamond is conflict free? I have no idea. And there are those who say that avoiding African diamonds will only harm the people there. Some say that many of the human rights issues from the 90s have been solved.
"If the diamond industry were to disappear overnight, it would mean disaster for African countries that have built their economies around this," said Tom Zoellner, author of "The Heartless Stone." "It would mean starvation and even more chaos in the diamond fields."I have no idea if that is true or not. So for now I'll just avoid diamonds in general. Not that I had any big plans to buy one - but I do have a "ring" fund for a future anniversary band.
It's definitely a good movie. I won't want to watch it again. It's too upsetting.