Who's in It:
Leonardo DiCaprio, Djimon Hounsou, Jennifer Connelly, Michael Sheen, Stephen Collins
The Basics: A diamond smuggler (DiCaprio) and a fisherman (Hounsou) hunt for a hundred-carat diamond together in war-torn Sierra Leone. The fisherman's noble goal is to use it to save his family's life. The smuggler forgot the part about having a noble goal. People chase them and then keep chasing them for two and a half hours.
What's the Deal? It was high time Hollywood stopped trying to make people care about genocide in Africa with stuff like Hotel Rwanda and simply embraced its natural impulse to exploit. Now it's just a really exciting and gory backdrop for a chase movie about a hot smuggler chasing diamonds who then falls for sexy American journalist Connelly.
The Flipside to What I Just Wrote: Halfway through the movie, I stopped worrying about exploitation and decided that more people will go see this than any documentary about Darfur. It'll be like seeing it on Oprah. At least they'll know it exists. Of course, I'm still wondering if that's better than nothing. And it does have a few exciting suspense moments. Not enough, but some.
Who Hates Jennifer Connelly? My guess is that it's director Edward Zwick. I have no proof of this, mind you, other than the little problem of her performance being world-class awful. It's the kind of sore thumb that makes you think careful editing and a grudge was involved.
When to Check Out: The last scene, when the guy from 7th Heaven is talking and the diamond industry gets to tell you that they do not condone the sort of "conflict diamonds" the whole movie is about. Then there's uplifting dumbness with Hounsou. If you just get up and go, you'll save yourself from a big inappropriate laugh in a crowded theater.