Enigmatic and charming, dashing and captivating, Leonardo DiCaprio’s presence on-screen is iconic and sublime. A stellar performer, DiCaprio was born in Los Angeles, California, on November 11, 1974, surrounded by the bright and looming sign of Hollywood. Having begun his career in sitcoms in the late 1980s, it was not until 1993 that Leo starred in a major film. Following his role in the 1993 film This Boy’s Life, he received acclaim and an Oscar nomination for his supporting role as a mentally impaired boy in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.
In 1997, Titanic catapulted DiCaprio to superstardom, and he has not had to look back ever since. Following a few unsuccessful commercial stints, in 2002, he finally landed two successful features in Catch Me If You Can and Gangs of New York; the latter marked the beginning of his association with Martin Scorsese. With international stardom at his feet, the actor later went on to become Scorsese’s blue-eyed boy (literally), and starred in many successful features. But one of his best is now on Netflix.
Blood Diamond, from 2006, is one of DiCaprio‘s pivotal roles, a moment in time when he transformed from boyish male lead to a gritty and accomplished actor. This film saw Hollywood’s humble and down-to-earth ‘it’ boy become a man in his own right.
Solomon Vandy, who is abducted and coerced into working in mines, discovers a priceless diamond. He finds an unlikely ally in the smuggler, Dany Archer, who promises to help Solomon find his family, his prize being the diamond. The film unravels as they embark on this quest through dangerous territories motivated by their personal interests.
Djimon Hounsou as Solomon does justice to his character, which gets him an Oscar nomination; so, does Leo, who is nominated for the third time due to his epic portrayal of the frivolous Danny Archer. He even goes to the extent of mastering the South African accent for this role. Intense, vulnerable and emotional, the actors establish a lovely understanding on-screen, which makes it a memorable watch.
The film remains one of DiCaprio’s finer performances, not only allowing him to show off his incredible accent — South African is no mean feat — but also giving him the duplicitous role. Forever cast as a film’s male lead, usually heroic and always happy, DiCaprio’s position as the double-crossing Archer is well worth re-watching.
Watch Blood Diamond on Netflix now.