This ambitious movie succeeds in at least one of its goals: You'll pause the next time you consider buying sparkling ice. Set in war-torn Sierra Leone during the 1990s, Blood Diamond is an often gripping tale about the dangers facing an ex-mercenary (DiCaprio) and a fisherman (Hounsou) when they join forces to recover a big pink diamond.
Blood argues that the trading of illegal diamonds in Africa led to death and destruction as warring regimes and rebel groups used the money to buy arms. Intent on hammering home this message—talk about putting the carat before the horse—the film repeatedly puts its action on pause to allow characters, especially an annoying journalist (Connelly), to recite statistics or make preachy pronouncements. DiCaprio and Hounsou both give vigorous, thoughtful performances. Connelly tries, but her role is bunk. (R)