Nikke Finke paints the South African diamond industry with an appropriately dark brush in her latest L.A. Weekly column, called “Throwing Precious Stones”:
“All along, the real question behind the scenes of Blood Diamond — an action-adventure pic set against the backdrop of civil war and chaos in the diamond-mining center of 1990s Sierra Leone, starring Leo DiCaprio, Jennifer Connelly and Djimon Hounsou, directed by Ed Zwick and produced by Paula Weinstein — is not whether it will be an Oscar contender (probably) or a critics’ favorite (possibly). It’s just how much mud the World Diamond Council and its flacks and flunkies and friends are planning to throw at the well-intentioned film and its too-liberal-for-the-room credits.
“Now the answer is clear: a lot, more than enough to dirty its awards chances. It’s rare in Hollywood, home to most things horrible, to have good vs. evil play out offscreen as well as on. (As opposed to seeing this as a level playing field where the really rich are ganging up on the really rich, so, in on sense, they deserve each other.) Yet here, the tactic of choice, already evidenced, is to smear the film’s production by accusing everyone involved of exploiting the Africans in much the same execrable way the diamond industry has done for decades.”