In "Blood Diamond" Leonardo DiCaprio plays a diamond smuggler during the civil war in Sierra Leone. But according to a not-so-stupid Reddit theory, the drive of the Unsympathen is not (just) greed ...
Again and again, we report on imaginative Reddit theories. Sometimes they make sense, sometimes they are just crazy. But this time we've tried for a change, how a movie changes, if you look at it again with such a theory in the back of your mind. The occasion is the broadcast of the action thriller "Blood Diamond" by Edward Zwick, which runs on ProSieben tonight at 10:20 pm. Above all, the theory has a very massive effect on the viewer's view of Leonardo DiCaprio's character Danny Archer:
One has to do the dirty work! And in "Blood Diamond," this someone is just the former mercenary Danny Archer of Rhodesia, who delivers weapons to the various parties to the civil war in Sierra Leone (1991-2001) for his former South African Colonel and the blood diamonds he has received across the border to Liberia smuggling. In doing so, he significantly extends the suffering of the civilian population (after all, the diamond revenues are used primarily to buy weapons), which are dramatically illustrated in "Blood Diamond" by the example of the family of Solomon Vandy (Djimon Hounsou) - terror, executions, burnt villages, severed hands and child soldiers.
Archer, however, leaves this misery pretty cold. His motivation seems to be pure greed - in the further course of the film, he even tries to take advantage of Solomon to grab a precious gemstone, flee with this from Africa and his sponsor Coetzee (Arnold Vosloo) over the ear to beat.
IS "BLOOD DIAMOND" A METAPHOR FOR AN HIV DISEASE?
However, more could be behind this hard facade than the viewer sees at first glance. The followers of a somewhat older, but surprisingly solid fan theory on Reddit believe that they recognized that Danny Archer had HIV before the movie started, and therefore saw the diamond as a sudden chance to leave Africa and receive medical help in Europe or to get America.
That sounds pretty far-fetched? Well, the Reddit commentators list a staggering amount of clues within the movie:
Most notable is a scene in the beginning in which a prostitute Danny offers her services with the assurance that she does not have HIV. To which he replies dryly: "Yes, yes, I've heard that before!"
Danny's illness could also explain why he keeps a certain physical distance from the journalist Maddy Bowen (Jennifer Connelly) and despite mutual attraction does not sleep with her.
An HIV infection is also a possible reason for his departure from Coetzee's mercenary company (keyword: prejudice) and his brief fainting in the wild, which he puts little credible on smoking.
When Danny asks his former comrade Cordell Brown (Antony Coleman) for a cigarette before the big showdown, he replies dryly that smoking is lethal just to say "Sorry" after a while. This could be interpreted to mean that he has a more severe illness.
Finally, Danny's refusal to let himself be carried off after his fatal gunshot wound by Solomon, after considering him and his recently rescued son, is also suspicious. Probably to prevent the blood contact with his new friend and thus a potential infection for the family man.
This behavior corresponds at least clearly to the ideas of the time concerning HIV and AIDS. Archer has spent his entire life in Africa, so he knows about the danger of infection and has internalized the prejudices and half-knowledge of these diseases as well.
His cynicism, his atheism and his contempt for the African states could well come from the certainty of having to die soon on this continent - until suddenly Solomon's diamond appears. Finally, the HIV disease would also fit in with the numerous blood metaphors that permeate Blood Diamond.
THE THEORY CHANGES THE LOOK AT "BLOOD DIAMOND"
We looked at "Blood Diamond" again with this in mind and the movie actually works very well and in a surprisingly different way when you look at it through this very different lens. Above all, Archer is more sympathetic and his desperate desire for the diamond, which not only puts him in danger, more understandable.
However, there are also some strong arguments against the theory:
While dancing in a beachside bar, Danny seems eager to go to her hotel room with Maddy.
In the mercenary quarters, Danny's comrades have no problem restoring him, at least for the moment, as a fighter in their ranks.
Solomon actually wears him well despite bleeding wound previously.
The scriptwriters put a lot of work into Danny's tragic prehistory, which explains his complex state of mind quite plausibly even without illness.
In the end, a greedy Danny Archer and his tragic fate probably serve the film's message about the ultimate futility of war and diamonds. If his figure were to die anyway, this would add some drama to the successful ending. A whitewash by Danny Archer is therefore not necessary.
Despite this, HIV theory is an interesting observation and allows viewers to look at "Blood Diamond" and Archer's film choices from a different perspective. Give it a try.