If only life had background music..
This post is rather different because I wrote this as an assignment for a class that I'm taking this semester. The class is called "Music and Culture" and the assignment was about describing my favorite music in a movie or play. Turns out that the music involved is also one of my all-time favorite scenes in a movie. So I thought, why not share it with the world?
Today, it's hard to imagine a movie without soundtrack. From the times of silent films to now, music has played an important role in enhancing what the director wishes to express in terms of the emotion and intensity of a scene. When it comes to movie soundtracks, I cannot go by without mentioning Hans Zimmer. He is an expert when it comes to captivating the audience into a cinematic experience through his music. No wonder movies like Inception, The Gladiator, The Dark Knight trilogy and Interstellar contain the best soundtracks adored by my generation. One movie though that really touched my heart, in terms of its music and story is Blood Diamond (2006).
The movie is directed by Edward Zwick and stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Djimon Hounsou and Jennifer Connelly. It’s about two men, Danny Archer (Leonardo DiCaprio), a white South African mercenary and Solomon Vandy (Djimon Hounsou), a black Mende fisherman who become joined in a common quest to recover a rare gem that has the power to transform their lives. Danny is a diamond smuggler and offers to reunite Solomon with his family in exchange for the gigantic diamond that he discovered. With the help of Maddy Bowen (Jennifer Connelly), an American journalist, the men embark on a hazardous trek through rebel territory to achieve their goal as civil war rages through 1990s Sierra Leone. The soundtrack is composed by James Newton Howard, and won the "Soundtrack of the Year" at the 2008 Classic Brit Awards.
There are many great scenes throughout this movie but there is one particular scene which I would like to point out. This happens when Danny, Solomon and Maddy are seeking out a safe place to hide from the RUF insurgents. They find themselves at a children’s home where abused, neglected, and orphaned children are protected from being exploited by raising arms and becoming child soldiers. At night, Maddy approach a drunk Danny and tries to engage him in a conversation. Danny makes her taste the local palm wine that he is drinking and they start bonding.
Initially, Maddy thinks that Danny is a selfish person for trying to exploit Solomon by ‘stealing his diamond’. “That diamond is my ticket out of this godforsaken continent,” Danny argues. Slowly, he opens up to her and shares his story to Maddy. I like how the soundtrack blends well with the scene at this point. He tells her about his time as a soldier in South Africa and the trauma that he experienced as a kid. Danny lost both his parents when he was a child. “Mom was raped and shot.. and dad was decapitated and hung from a hook in the barn. I was nine. Boohoo, right?”
Danny: “Sometimes I wonder... will God ever forgive us for what we've done to each other? Then I look around and I realize... God left this place a long time ago."
The soundtrack is called "Maddy & Archer" and it’s listed as track 6 with a length of 1.56. Listening to this track gives me a feeling of empathy and love for someone that I care about and I think it’s perfect for this scene.
Blood Diamond is the story of a man's quest for freedom and another man's attempt to reunite with his family. But most importantly, It gives us a picture of how developed nations can exploit the suffering of underdeveloped countries without knowing the truth. Ignorance can be blissful, but that is blindness. Unfortunately, the trade of conflicted diamonds is far from being extinct, and there is virtually no way to know for sure whether a diamond purchased is blood free or not. However, I would still consider it worthwhile to do some research before making such an investment.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post. Feel free to share your favorite scene in a movie at the comment section below.