Blood Diamondis a 2006 political thriller film co-produced and directed by Edward Zwick and starring Leonardo DiCaprio , Jennifer Connelly and Djimon Hounsou . The title refers to blood diamonds , which are diamonds mined in African war zones and sold to finance conflicts, and thereby profit warlords and diamond companies across the world.
Set during the Sierra Leone Civil War in 1992-2002, the film shows a country torn apart by the struggle between government soldiers and rebel forces.It also portrays many of the atrocities of that war, including the rebels' amputation of people's hands to discourage them from voting in upcoming elections.
The film's ending, in which a conference is held concerning blood diamonds, is in reference to an actual meeting that took place in Kimberley , South Africa in 2000 and led to the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme , which seeks to certify the origin of diamonds in order to curb the trade in conflict diamonds. The film received mixed, but generally favourable reviews and was nominated for five Academy Awards , including Best Actor (DiCaprio) and Best Supporting Actor (Hounsou).
In 1999 Mende fisherman Solomon Vandy ( Djimon Hounsou ) was captured by the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels during a raid and subsequent massacre of his village in Shenge , Sierra Leone . Instead of cutting off his hands, the rebels put him to work as a miner in the diamond fields under the command of warlord Captain Poison ( David Harewood ), while his son Dia (Kagiso Kuypers) is conscripted into the RUF and brainwashed into becoming a hardened, cold-blooded, killer. Captain Poison uses the diamonds to fund their war effort, often trading them directly for automatic weapons. One day, Solomon recovers an enormous pink diamond while working. Attempting to keep it for himself, he buries it in a nearby riverbank, unobserved by the guards. An infuriated Poison discovers the truth but before he can act on this knowledge, the Sierra Leonean Army assaults the mines. Vandy, the captain, and most of Poison's fighters are captured and subsequently imprisoned in Freetown .
Meanwhile, Danny Archer ( Leonardo DiCaprio ), a white Rhodesian gunrunner (from today's Zimbabwe ), is arrested attempting to smuggle diamonds into Liberia . Archer had been transporting the diamonds to an Afrikaner mercenary , Colonel Coetzee ( Arnold Vosloo ), his former commander in the 32nd Battalion , the most decorated unit of the South African Border War . Coetzee is in turn employed by Tiara Diamond Company executive Rudolph Van de Kaap ( Marius Weyers ) and his deputy, Rupert Simmons ( Michael Sheen ). While being held in the same Freetown prison as Solomon Vandy, Archer learns of the pink diamond's existence.
Archer manages to arrange his own release from prison and also pulls the strings necessary for Solomon to be freed, hoping that he will lead him to this valuable diamond. In the meantime, the latter gets a job working at a Freetown Hotel while Archer visits his contacts in South Africa , including Colonel Coetzee. The Afrikaner is angry and frustrated that their previous smuggling operation was foiled. He demands that he receive some of the profits from this pink diamond once it is eventually recovered. Danny remarks that he plans to use his share of the money to leave the Dark Continent once and for all. However, Coetzee disagrees, referencing a Shona legend that the soil of Africa is red because of all the blood that has been spilled by people fighting over the land. He implies that both of them will never leave Africa because, after all, Africa is in their blood.
Returning to Sierra Leone, Archer locates Solomon and offers to help him find his long lost family, especially Dia, if he agrees to lead him to the diamond. While they discuss the issue, however, the RUF rebels launch a massive attack on Freetown and capture it following a bloody battle. Archer and Solomon survive the initial carnage long enough to steal away from the ruined city by night.
In Forécariah , Guinea , American journalist and humanitarian Maddy Bowen ( Jennifer Connelly ), allows Archer and Vandy to infiltrate the Kono with her press convoy in exchange for information on her current story exposing the flow of " blood diamonds " out of Africa. Archer promptly provides proof to Maddy that Van de Kaap and his Tiara Diamond Company control the market by illegally stockpiling vast amounts of diamonds to drive up demand. But trouble catches up with Danny and Solomon yet again when the press convoy comes under attack by murderous insurgents. Together with Bowen, they narrowly escape and find their way to an encampment where Colonel Coetzee and his private army are preparing for battle. Coetzee intends to get his hands on the pink diamond no matter whom he must fight to get it.
Archer and Vandy eventually leave the camp while Maddy boards a plane evacuating foreigners out of the conflict zone. The duo reach Captain Poison's diamond fields, which has been recaptured by the rebels. Solomon then makes his own ill-fated bid to rescue a brainwashed Dia, who refuses to acknowledge his father. Archer radios in the mine's coordinates to Coetzee's mercenaries, who subsequently launch an air strike on Poison's men via an Mi-24 Helicopter Gunship. Amidst the chaos, Solomon finds and kills Poison with a shovel. As the outgunned and now leaderless RUF force tries to flee into the jungle, they are slaughtered in an ambush by a mercenary strike team on the ground. With the battle won, Colonel Coetzee has Dia rounded up and holds him at gunpoint. He threatens to murder the boy unless Solomon retrieves the pink diamond immediately. After it is unearthed, Danny Archer realizes that the colonel is planning to execute Vandy and his son anyway once he is in possession of the valuable stone. He preemptively kills Coetzee and two of his soldiers, only to be mortally wounded in the process. Dia then takes advantage of the situation to hold a pistol on his father and the injured Archer. After an emotional discussion, however, Solomon manages to convince his son of his own retained innocence and Dia agrees to return home with him, having overcome his mental conditioning.
The three of them flee from the remaining mercenaries and make their way from the valley towards an airstrip atop a nearby ridge where Archer has prearranged to rendezvous with a local pilot, Nabil ( Jimi Mistry ), in his GA8 Airvan . Before they reach the ridge, Danny collapses from his wounds and hands over the diamond to Solomon, instructing him to take it and use its profits for himself and the benefit of his family. Archer then uses an assault rifle to hold off their pursuers as the two others escape in the plane.
Bleeding and barely able to breathe, Archer uses his satellite phone to make a final call to Maddy Bowen and ask her to assist Solomon. Realizing that he is dying, Maddy expresses her sorrow that she is not able to be there with him in person. The Rhodesian smuggler replies calmly that he is already where he needs to be, then grasps a handful of red African soil stained with his own blood. Soil in hand, he dies peacefully looking out upon a beautiful Sierra Leonean landscape.
Shortly afterwards, Solomon meets with Rupert Simmons, who promises that the Tiara Diamond Company will arrange for his family to be brought to England in exchange for the diamond. Maddy secretly photographs the deal and later publishes a magazine article titled "Blood Diamonds: A Trail of Terror from the Jungles to the Jeweller's" in which she exposes the trade in "conflict" or "blood" diamonds, detailing Rudolph Van de Kaap's criminal actions and ruining him and the TDC. Later, Solomon is seen preparing to tell of his experiences at a conference on blood diamonds in Kimberley , South Africa. His entrance to the conference meeting hall is met with a standing ovation as the film ends.