pretty typical zwick (glory, last samurai, blood diamond) drama here. he likes to mix themes of race and conflict and love and action. the film is very reliant upon the performances of the three stars (hounsou, dicaprio, connelly) and succeeds in large part because of them. the plot is a cross between hotel rwanda, romancing the stone and tears of the sun. there’s high drama mixed with some hollywood timing and poetic license. that said, the story is a poignant and important one. the film ends on a bittersweet note and that’s appropriate because these sorts of issues are hardly likely to disappear anytime soon.
the character dynamic is probably the most interesting element of the film. each character needs each other in some vital way so they have a tenuous relationship based upon this need. at the same time, there is an undercurring bond that goes beyond the symbiotic one that is clear. going into the film i knew that hounsou would turn in a good performance, but that it probably didn’t have the same potential as dicaprio’s. when i look at performances i judge them not just upon their filling the role, but also by their dynamism and range. dicaprio’s range here is above that of the other characters so his is the most interesting performance of the film. shame on me for ever doubting this guy.Watched in theater