Tolomon (Djimon Hounsou) is walking home with his son, Dia, while they talk about school. Solomon knows his son is very smart and thinks he will become a doctor one day. As they head into their village Solomon sees the R.U.F (rebels) driving by, blaring their music and brandishing their guns. He tells Dia to run and he tries to save the rest of his family (his wife and two daughters) who are hiding in their hut. By this time R.U.F are shooting everyone, causing chaos, families are running, they steal the male children, there's bloodshed everywhere. Solomon gets captured and Dia screams for him but the rest of his family run off and escape. The rebels have the men they captured stand in line where they get ready to chop off their arms ("Short sleeved or long sleeved?") and Solomon is third in line but before they can cut it off the leader (Captain Poison) tells him that he will work in the diamond fields.
In the fields, men are in the water panning for diamonds. One man takes a small pebble of diamond and puts it into his mouth but one of the rebels spots him, orders him to give it back, and then shoots him. Solomon is looking through what looks like a vase and all of a sudden he sees a rough pink diamond the size of a small bird's egg. He carefully puts it between his toes and then asks one of the rebels if he can go to the bathroom. First he's searched, hands, mouth, ears, patted down but they let him go. He wanders off a little and then squats down to bury it but Captain Poison holds a gun to his head and orders Solomon to give him the diamond. Before he does, the government troops are here and they're trying to take down the rebels. There's a blast and the Captain goes down (losing an eye in the process) and Solomon manages to escape but both are arrested by the troops. Around this time the rebels managed to take Dia and a few other boys.
Dan Archer (Leonardo DiCaprio) is trying to smuggle diamonds for a Colonel Coetzee (played by the evil guy from both Mummy movies) but gets caught by some police officers. He tries to bribe them but they arrest him anyways and he's thrown into jail. There, he listens as Captain Poison, who is being taken away on a stretcher, demands Solomon to tell him about the pink diamond, which Solomon refuses, saying he doesn't know what he's talking about. That he doesn't have any diamonds and he gets angry and yells at the Captain. "You took away my family, my home. I have nothing!"
One of Archer's friends bails him out and he tells his friend to bail out Solomon also because he believes that he has a pink diamond and since he doesn't have the diamonds he was originally smuggling for the Colonel, he'll need to pay back the Colonel somehow. In the next few scenes it shows Archer trying to convince Solomon to bring him the diamond. They'll split it 50/50 (a part goes to the Colonel) and Solomon will have his family back. During these scenes it shows the R.U.F training the male children including Dia, to become soldiers. They are beaten, given drugs, told that their family are dead, practice shooting, brain washed, etc. And slowly Dia is becoming a child soldier. Also Archer meets Maddy (Jennifer Connelly) who is a journalist doing a story about blood diamonds. There's an attracting between them but she doesn't like what he does and he thinks that what she's doing is pointless. Nobody cares about Africa and what's going on in Africa. ("Peace Corp only helps out until they realize that they can't change what's going on, the government only stays in power until they get rich enough to move away, and the rebels don't even want to rule the place because of all the mess they have to clean up.")
Solomon finally agrees to showing Archer the diamond in exchange for his family. Archer asks Maddy for help because they can get around easier in the press bus. He promises a story with names and facts and everything involving the blood diamonds. Maddy manages to get Solomon to his wife and two daughters but when he asks her where Dia is, she tells him that the rebels have him. Also, the family can't be released to him because the government troops want to keep them (and the thousands of other families caught) until the rebels are disarmed.
The three continue their journey trying to get back to the diamond field where Solomon has hidden the diamond but they are ambushed by the rebels. After a furious car chase they go down a side of the hill until they crash and they get out. While they are hiking away they spot native tribe members hiding in the forest watching them. The tribe is neither for the government or for the rebels. They just want to protect their land. One member jumps out and demands to know who they are. Solomon is trying to keep the peace but it's Maddy who saves the day. She says she's from so-and-so magazine and shows them her camera asking if she can take their picture. They of course can't understand her but she smiles and snaps away and then takes one of her with them in the background. One of the members turn to the other and say that she reminds him of his wife. The tribe leads them to a home where a Peacekeeper is there who takes care of all the children that have no families or that have been affected by this civil war. He lets them play, teaches them songs, and have them go to school.
Later the Peacekeeper drives the three towards Colonel Coetzee's army (where Archer and Solomon can grab supplies) but they are stopped by a few rebel children soldiers with guns. At first Archer tells the Peacekeeper to drive through them but the Peacekeeper rolls down his window to talk nicely to them. They demand to know who Archer is ("Who is that motherfucker?") and when they aren't happy with the answer they shoot the Peacekeeper. Archer puts his foot on the gas and drives off until they get to the Colonel's station. There the Peackeeper is put on a stretcher (he'll survive) and Archer tells the Colonel that they are going to find the diamond now (they need to hike a few days to get to that diamond field) and that if he needs help, he'll call on the Colonel. They steal some supplies, like a cell phone, a tracker, food, and water, etc. He parts ways with Maddy and they hug and she takes his picture and gives him her business card and asks if he'll call. He says that once he's near a phone he will. Both Archer and Solomon run off into the thick forest.
There's a few scenes with both of them just talking and trekking along. Solomon wants to find his son but Archer says that Dia is not with the R.U.F but as they are walking a group of the rebels drive by and Solomon thinks that he's spotted his son. When they finally reach the area where the diamond field is, Archer sees that they are surrounded by the rebels and it will be very difficult to get through them to get to the spot where the pink diamond is buried. So he calls on the Colonel to help do an air strike on the area the next morning. Archer then tells Solomon to stay put, that they will not move until the sun rises. When he wakes up, of course, Solomon is gone. He's down at the bottom of the hill pretending to be one of the captured men and trying to get close to his son. When he does, he tries to get Dia to follow him but Dia refuses and causes a commotion. Captain Poison comes around and sees Solomon and crows that he knew Solomon would come back for the pink diamond and that in the morning he will dig it up for them as the Captain has come back many times to try to find it himself but to no avail.
The next day the sun rises, and Archer is trying to get Solomon and Dia back as he knows that the Colonel is coming. Soon the planes come and they start shooting up the diamond field and Archer manages to get to Solomon and his son before anything major can happen to them. The Colonel and two other soldiers get out and demand that Solomon take them to the buried diamond. Archer knows that they will probably all be killed by the Colonel afterwards and after a few small eye contacts and head nods between Archer and Solomon, they manage to take out the Colonel and the two soldiers. Solomon digs out the diamond and gives it to Archer who looks at it in awe until he notices Dia holding a gun to him. Solomon has to talk him down, reminding him about their family and how Dia's going to be a doctor one day and he cries and Dia cries, and hugs all around until the Colone's troops shoot at them. All three run up the hill to where a plane should be taking them to safety. Archer tells the pilot (his friend that bailed him out earlier) that two other people will be joining him but the pilot tells him to ditch them. At this point Archer also realizes that he's been shot on the side under the armpit and that he's bleeding profusely. After a while Solomon has to carry him.
When they all pause to rest, Archer gives Solomon back the diamond and tells him to get up to the plane. He gives him Maddy's business card and tells him to call her and that they will go to London and he will meet up with the buyer who will give him what he needs. Archer urges them to hurry as the Colonel's soldiers are catching up. As the father and son run up the rest of the hill (or I should say mountain), Archer tries to shoot at a few of the soldiers and then calls Maddy on the cell phone. She is in London having lunch and is delighted that he called. He tells her to look out for Solomon and that she should write the hell out of the story. He tells her not to worry as Africa is his home and that he's enjoying the beautiful view. She is sad to know that he's hurt and that this is the last time she'll know him but they both say that they are happy to have met each other.
She meets Solomon in London and tells him where to go to meet the buyer as she hides up on the bridge to take pictures. Solomon demands money and also the release of the rest of his family before he hands over the diamond. Meanwhile Maddy is clicking away. Later we see him in an airplane hangar as he waits for his family to come out of the plane. He hands the diamond to the buyer who greedily grabs it and starts looking at it for imperfections. Solomon finally has all of his family with him and the money to boot. Maddy has her pictures and her story and they have a tribute for Danny Archer.
Basically it goes like this: Africa gets the diamonds (however they can) and people like Archer smuggle it over to places like Libya where he then sells it to buyers from Belgium and London. These buyers take these diamonds and save some in a vault so that the supply can never get too high and then the rest mixes in with the other diamond circulation, polished, and sold. No one can tell which ones are blood diamonds.
In 2003 there was a draft made to prevent countries from buying these blood diamonds. That we should be making sure that the diamonds we buy are conflict-free.
There are still 200,000 children soldiers.
But Sierra Leone is right now at peace.
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