Danny Archer (Leonardo DiCaprio, pictured) is a Rhodesian-born mercenary smuggling gems and dealing arms in war-torn Sierra Leone. Briefly imprisoned, he encounters Solomon Vandy (Djimon Hounsou, pictured), a fisherman enslaved by rebel forces, who is rumoured to have found and hidden a rare pink diamond.
Together they embark on a frantic race to recover the gem, evading a murderous rebel captain and Danny's ruthless former employers. Danny has promised to help Solomon find his lost family among the countless refugees fleeing Sierra Leone's imploding society, but their deal is complicated when Solomon's young son is conscripted and brainwashed by the rebel army. Aided by journalist Maddy Bowen (Jennifer Connelly), and mistrusting each other's goals, the two men push forward through rebel-held territory to their inevitably bloody conclusion.
Director Edward Zwick may have last helmed The Last Samurai, but Blood Diamond is more than the average "white man saves the day" actioner. While DiCaprio gets top billing, Hounsou carries the film with his impassioned performance as a family man willing to go to any lengths to save his family.
The scenes involving Solomon's son, forced into a children's army and plied with drugs and guns, are truly shocking and the film's depiction of the West's complicity in the trade that fuels such conflicts offers the viewer an interesting, intelligent drama.