Directed by The Last Samurai and Glory helmer Edward Zwick, Blood Diamond was an ambitious film, and it was nominated for a glut of awards shortly after it was released. Nevertheless, the story of a hellish African conflict walked away from most ceremonies largely empty handed.
Blood Diamond‘s critical and audience reactions stand in sharp contrast to one another. Rotten Tomatoes has the film at an astonishing 90% approval rate with everyday joes, while professional reviewers took a sterner stance, hitting it with 63% positive takes. The complaints were varied — some derided what they saw as “a film about exploitation that sometimes feels like it IS exploitation,” while others had harsh words about what they perceived to be a heavy handed message and an overplayed white savior narrative.
While it wasn’t a box office smash or a universally critically beloved darling, Blood Diamond is generally recognized as an emotionally involving showcase of some powerhouse acting talents, with special praise being heaped on DiCaprio and Hounsou’s performances. If nothing else, it serves as a stark reminder of those dark years when Michael Sheen was still relegated to smaller roles and not, as he was always meant to do, winning the hearts of streaming audiences by being low-key in love with David Tennant.