*Spoiler Alert: This post contains information that reveals important plot points in the film it references. If you have not yet watched the movie and plan to do so in the future, some of the following content might spoil the plot and your viewing experience. Read at your own risk.
In Honor of Letter A marking the first day of the A to Z Challenge, I would like to say a special thanks to Arlee Bird at Tossing It Out, for starting this blogathon. He makes it possible for thousands of bloggers from around the world to meet new people, build confidence in their writing, expand their knowledge and keep the fun in blogging. Thank You Arlee!
“You’ll never leave Africa” is what a ruthless military colonel says to a diamond and gun smuggler named Danny Archer in the dramatic thriller “Blood Diamond” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Djimon Hounsou and Jennifer Connelly. These discouraging words are delivered in such a matter-of-fact way that one would believe Archer doesn’t stand a chance. A combination of business savvy, determination, warfare survival skills and compassion are what leads him to a kind of promise land that is much more valuable than the destination he initially set out to reach. Although Danny Archer is a fictional character, we can learn a lot from him in regards to selflessness, creating a legacy and making our every breathing moment count no matter how much time we have left.
While in jail, Archer met a mine worker named Solomon who possessed a large diamond. So he manipulated Solomon’s interests in finding the miner’s kidnapped son (who has now become a child soldier), upon their release from jail, to get access to this diamond. Archer considered the diamond to be his ticket out of “this God forsaken country” we call Africa. Archer then met a journalist named Maddy who challenged his intentions, as lives were placed in danger – and even destroyed -- in the process of this man’s selfish quest to do whatever is necessary to retrieve the precious stone.
When Archer’s colleagues start acting shady and turn on him, he starts to realize that there are other people who deserve just as much (if not more) of a chance at a ticket to freedom, as he does. The dangerous mission to find Solomon’s hidden diamond also brings Archer in contact with people whom he never met before – yet suddenly became his new allies. Although a rare diamond turned Archer into a greedy monster at times, he used his very last moments to bring change to the brutal realities that Solomon – and people like him face in the wake of political tensions and war that ravish the very place they once called home.
Since the diamond never belonged to Archer in the first place, he paid a heavy and unimaginable price to obtain it, which goes to show that one person cannot rightfully find peace, happiness or riches through the fruits of another person’s labor – especially when these things are sought after in a self-absorbed manner. It is something that Archer may have realized when he chose to sacrifice himself -- and his dream of leaving Africa – for Solomon’s benefit. Solomon found peace, happiness, safety and riches through the fruits of Archer’s labor via connections with Maddy and a pilot who – in addition to the diamond – were Solomon’s “tickets” to a better place.
Archer and Solomon’s experiences are an example of how sometimes, the best way to get to where we want to go is by taking actions that work for the greater good of more people beyond our own reach. Danny Archer helped another man survive war, reunite with family and start a new life in another country – one not laced with conflict and devastation. It is because of Archer that Solomon was able to escape a tragic and possibly deadly fate. So in a sense, Archer did get what he wanted -- his body may not have left Africa but by helping Solomon, he reached his destination – in spirit. Archer’s memory lives on through the survival of a fisherman-turned-miner and his family as well as through Maddy’s telling of the trials and corruption that got them to a new, more promising land.
Danny Archer gained fame, friendship, character, integrity and a legacy that affects the lives of other people – individuals and families he will never know.
Through his actions, he made his life more valuable than one piece of jewelry or plane ticket could ever bring him. It is a prime example of what the Leesburg 33 survivor said, about there not being any human gains without somebody sacrificing, in Shari Thompson’s documentary.
So the next time you long to relocate or have a healthier lifestyle or achieve some other type of goal, I ask you to consider the possibilities of reaching it by using your knowledge and/or resources to help someone else.
Do YOU have an “Africa” that you want to leave? If so, what is your “ticket” out of there?
After slacking off on The Monday Movie Meme last week, it returns today but is going to be quick throughout the month while I do the A to Z Challenge. This week’s theme is based on Danny Archer’s quest described in my A to Z Challenge post above: One-Way Ticket.
Share on your blog or in the comments section, ONE movie featuring someone who is depending on one key thing to change his or her circumstances.
My selection for this week’s One-Way Ticket theme is: “Children of Men.” The main character in this movie risks his life to save the human race by aiding in the transport of the world’s only pregnant girl. The girl’s baby is his and the world’s “ticket” to a better existence.
What ONE movie have YOU watched that features someone trying to change their circumstances by obtaining one particular thing?