A Character Analysis of the Film: Blood Diamond (2006)

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This study will analyze three central characters in the film: Blood Diamond (2006) by director Edward Zwick. By understanding the moral and ethical dilemma of illegal “conflict diamonds” being stolen and smuggled by Danny Archer (Leonardo DiCaprio) there is an unethical and immoral business dilemma he must deal with through other characters he encounters during the Sierra Leone Civil War of 1999. Another character, Solomon Vandy (Djimon Hounsou), is a native of the region that has been captured and forced into slavery as a diamond miner/laborer that invariably comes into contact with Archer after he discovers a large and rare diamond that he hides during his work shift. This aspect of the film opens the possibility of Archer slowly coming to realize his immorality and unethical business practices, as Maddy Bowen (Jennifer Connelly) acts as a moral voice through her journalism. In this manner, these aspects of these three characters will be evaluated in this business analysis of Blood Diamond.

I.The ends and means of each character builds bridges into the central character, Danny Archer, as he is enveloped in the illegal conflict diamonds that are brought into Europe through smuggling as a result of the Sierra Leone civil war. The means of Archer’s greed his one unethical standard that drives him toward making profits off the horror and destruction of whole communities in Africa during internal military conflict. He is willing to go to any means to rationalize his involvement with RUF, as he is directly linked to Europeans that are creating civil wars in Africa to exploit Africans and their natural resources. When Danny talks about his immoral perspective on the world with Maddy Bowen, an American journalist writing a story about the war, his means to an end as a businessman is made clear: Maddy Bowen: The world is falling apart and all we hear about is blowjob-gate. Danny Archer: When was the last time the world wasn't falling apart, huh? Maddy Bowen: Uh, a cynic. Why don't you sit down and make me miserable? (Zwick)

This dialogue defines the role that Danny enacts as he is challenged by Maddy to realize that life is not all about making a profit, but that there are people dying and losing their lives for these diamonds. When Solomon Vandy is constantly harassed by Archer to tell him where the diamond is to be found, he is at once exploiting him in the way that Maddy is ethically against him in her anti-colonial point of view. Solomon stole the blood diamond while he was working, and hid it to so that he might have a way for him and his family to escape the murder and horrors of rampaging militias that destroyed his village. In this manner, Danny is seeking to exploit Solomon through unethical business practices; while Maddy and Solomon are trying to convert Danny to help them use the diamond to save his family and unveil the evil of conflict diamonds in Africa.

II.Danny Archer is a challenger-freedom seeker throughout much of the film. He is loyal to his military superior, Colonel Coetzee (Arnold Vosloo), and he is in business with him to bring diamonds out of Sierra Leone. Although Danny beholds a great loyalty to the Colonel for saving him from being murdered as a young man, he invariably sees the immoral style of warfare that he inflicts on the local people. However, Danny does not find much wrong with stealing diamonds from whoever he can under the Colonel’s leadership, which makes him willing to do anything to find his freedom from Coetzee’s militia—he is loyal to one, not even the Colonel. Maddy is a loyalist–traditionalist fighter that uses her journalism to refute and argue against Danny’s involvement in trying to steal the blood diamond from Solomon. She is trying to use the anti-colonial moral argument to unveil the use of military conflict as a way to exploit African peoples, which is the primary conflict behind the story. Essentially, she is trying to liberate the African people from suffering under...
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