There is only one thing not to love about Martin Brest’s Scent of a Woman: the very serious hunk of jarlsberg that must be downed while watching it. Certainly, the film reeks of early 1990s overwritten performance-vehicle sentimental pieces of cheese whiz. But that goes down much better if you take it with a grain of salt. Read on…
This film was added to the queue in anticipation of Ed Zwick’s Defiance, which I ended up seeing and hating enough to add a few dozen other DVDs to the top position in the meantime. I’m pretty tough on Mr. Zwick, especially after the disaster of The Last Samulrai, but Blood Diamond, which is flanked by those two terrible releases, is something else entirely. Certainly, the movie is full of his own bombastic style: things blow up, women bring redemption to men, and there are plenty of tears and soppy music. However, this is a film with a true heart, and a message that is seemingly more vital than most political dramatizations that are released while a conflict rages on.
The story follows two men, Daniel Archer and Solomon Vandy. The first is a white diamond smuggler and self-proclaimed soldier of fortune played by Leonardo DiCaprio. The second, played by Djimon Hounsou, is a black fisherman who becomes entangled in both Sierra Leone’s civil war and the international diamond trade when his village is attacked by rebels. They are both African, and that is the point.
It seems as though Mr. Zwick sets out to make Gone With The Wind on every outing. He finds singular bits of schmaltz amid nations brought to the brink of armageddon and uses them as his macguffin to, well, blow a bunch of shit up and teach us all a lesson by the end of the pummeling. If ever this tactic works, it works best in Blood Diamond. Most of where this film stands apart is in the actind. Mr. DiCaprio and Mr. Hounsou bring a great deal of heart to the table. Archer as the cold hearted cynic who, surprise, lightens up a bit by the end, and Vandy as the loving man-child who dreams for a simpler world, where he could live in peace with his family.
My favorite moments in this film is a scene where Archer must pretend to be a journalist and Vandy must pose as his cameraman so that they may get a free ride towards the giant diamond around which the film centers. Bear in mind, at the point, Vandy has lost his family, his home, and he has very litttle to gain by finding the diamond anyhow. Still, he pulls Archer aside and yells at him “I cannot do this!” He is referring to lying. The scene is both heart-warming and heart breaking, but in the end I found myself chuckling. The film would be better with more of this, but that is all we get.
I absolutely recommend giving this one a viewing if you haven’t yet.
I spent the first reel of this film completely bored, hoping there had to be some reason for this movie to be released coming up around any turn. Well, Once you give yourself over to the basic filmmaking offered up in In Bruges, you start to see where this film is doing a lot of things right. For one, Colin Farrell has a brief glint of humanity, though not as much as he mustered up inÂ Cassandra’s Dream.
If anything has proven consistent over the last decade of “independent” film, it’s that you’ve got to start with the less-clever-than-it-lets-onÂ cold-blooded-killers-who-are-actually-like-regular-people semi-offensive-but-never-subversive black comedy before you move on to bigger and brighter things. And so, not missing a step of his destiny, Martin McDonagh, of Oscar-winning Six ShooterÂ fame, gives us this forgettable speck. Read on…