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We take a look at the Blood Diamond special edition DVD to see how it measures up.

An ex-mercenary turned diamond smuggler (Leonardo DiCaprio) and a local fisherman (Djimon Hounsou) whose son has been conscripted by rebel forces are the unlikely pairing at the heart of this story about the hunt for a rare diamond amidst Sierra Leone’s explosive civil war.

Clocking in at 143mins, director Edward Zwick’s Blood Diamond has a lot of important things to say about conflict, diamonds and the use of young children as soldiers in Africa, but fumbles somewhat in attempting to bring these points across in a dramatic medium. The finished product is always involving and thought-provoking, but trying to tie these appalling true-life events to a conventional thriller narrative means Blood Diamond struggles to come across as a cohesive whole. It’s punctuated every 20 minutes or so by impressive action scenes – presumably included to stop audiences getting bored. At least the central performances are impressive, with only Jennifer Connelly left struggling with a thin role.

Other than a commentary from the director, the only other extra on the first disc is the theatrical trailer, meaning Warner has been able to devote the majority of the disc space to the transfer itself. The result is mostly impressive, with excellent black levels and superb colour saturation. However, some early scenes do exhibit some obvious artefacting that can be distracting. The surround mix is natural and balanced, with the action scenes providing a real chance for it to shine, with bullets and explosions ringing out through the surround channels.

Heading up the second disc is the 50-min documentary Blood on the Stone, a moving and upsetting look at life in modern Sierra Leone and the continuing existence of diamond smuggling.

It’s much more affecting than the film itself; maybe the subject matter should have been treated as a documentary all along. Accompanying this are a couple of featurettes looking at the work DiCaprio and Connelly, a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the Freetown siege sequence from the film, plus a music video.

THE PICTURE:

THE SOUND:

THE EXTRAS:

THE MOVIE:

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