Monday, March 28, 2011

Danny Archer in Blood Diamond

The movie based on real events, "Blood Diamond", pits antagonist Danny Archer against illegal mining operations in Africa that are in search of diamonds. Archer is in search of a huge conflict diamond that will net him a free pass home, therefore he is willing to use any means possible to secure the diamond. As he starts his journey, Danny Archer is a defiant anti-hero as he makes many immoral and unethical decisions that most would never consider. For an occupation, he is a mercenary, a soldier of war that fights for the highest bidder. Their is a flashback to earlier in his life where it shows him fighting with these rebel groups and is forced to shoot innocent women and children. The director placed this scene into the movie to show how events such as these have hardened Danny Archer and de-sensitized him to violence. As the anti-hero, he has done things in his life that he isn't proud of but feels that they were required to get his job done. This is how he rationalizes the choices that he makes, as he has ruined many peoples lives and caused many hardships in order to recieve his payments.

The quest that Danny Archer undergoes is the search for knowledge as he wants to find the exact location of the conflict diamond. Archer then meets Soloman Vandy, a local who has been wrongly put into jail. Danny Archer then tells Vandy that he will get him out of jail if he will get him the diamond. Soloman Vandy agrees and they set out on their quest for Archers treasure. Soloman Vandy could be considered an "Outcast" where society believes that he has done somehting wrong and placed him in a jail. The crime is an imagined one as the rebels are the ones who found Vandy and took him to jail. He is searching for his son who was taken from him when he was sent to jail and placed in camp and this plays a large role in the movie as two plot lines emerge; the search for the conflict diamond and  for Soloman's son.

As the movie progresses and they get closer to finding the diamond, the two begin to bond and share a loyalty for each other. The diamond that the two of them are looking for is also the desired item for the rebel groups and so as the two find the diamond they get into a gunfight with the rebels. They escape but Archer has been shot and is bleeding vehemently from his chest, so he gives Vandy the diamond to run and find his son. This is where we see Archer turn from the defiant anti-hero into a Transcendent hero whose flaws bring about his demise. Archer has lived a life of violence and greed with no care for anyone else but he has shown the change by giving Vandy the diamond to escape without him. In his last dying moments, Danny Archer lies up on a cliff watching a beautiful sunrise, symbolizing how he is finally at peace even though he is in his last moments. This is where the movie ends, leaving the audience to question their own lives and the path that they are currently on.

8 comments:

  1. I agree with you that there is a definite change in Danny Archer over the course of the film. In fact, I think that the most important journey of the film isn't the journey of finding the diamond, but the journey that Archer goes through when he changes from a greedy anti-hero to a selfless hero who puts others before himself at all costs.

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  2. The significant change in Danny Archer is also because of the subsequent search for identity that happened in this quest. As a result of interpersonal contact with the people around him, Danny Archer began to understand what his true values were in the given situation. I believe that the character who played the biggest role in determining the identity of Mr. Archer would be the female reporter from New York. This is because this reported offered perspective from which Mr. Archer built his values on. The decision to aid the Africans residing there was most definitely because of the people around him.

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  3. Adam, although I see where you are coming from, I disagree with the idea that it was the reporter who changed Archer's identity. Although she did try to convince him to change I don't believe that her words were powerful enough to completely change his values. I think the person who had the greatest influence on him was Soloman Vandy. As Vandy and Archer search for the diamond, Archer can't believe the love Vandy must have for his son to risk his life. Archer learns the importance of putting others before himself through the example of Soloman Vandy and not the female reporter convincing him. Landon, what are your thoughts on this disagreement between Adam and myself?

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  4. I can see the two points of view being brought up in this discussion, as they both have a level of validity. While Adam says that the reporter had the biggest impact on Archer, I believe that Soloman Vandy and the love for his son played the largest role in the change that Danny Archer underwent. As Spencer discussed, Archer witnessed the power of putting others before yourself and the importance of this, as he demonstrated at the end of the movie. I feel that the reporter only gave Danny a different perspective on the war, while not signifigantly changing his outlook.

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  5. After further analyzing this form of media, I think that the change of Archers' character wasn't because of one factor alone, but a culmination of factors. Although I understand the perspective you guys are speaking from, the idea of change is one that is centered about individual worldview based on personal experience. The experiences involving Archer and both Soloman Vandy as well as the reporter as a whole impacted his outlook on the war and his values. This is because the entire experience depicted in the film would not work if one of these factors were taken out. For example despite the major influence of Soloman Vandy, I don't think the impact would have been the same, if the reported played no part. Similarly, the inverse is the same. What does the change exhibited by Mr. Archer reveal about redemption and change in our own lives?

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  6. Adam, I believe that you did an excellent job summing up our discussion, as you hit on all the points that Spencer and I relayed. As to answer your question, I believe that redemption allows us to go beyond our normal capacity, as it gives us a will to succeed and accomplish things we normally would't. Danny Archer realized the mistakes that he made in life, and therefore he decided to stay behind to allow Soloman Vandy and his son escape while he died to save them. Regarding our own lives, I feel that the same is true. When we feel that we have failed or not done something as well as we could have, we feel the need to get better at that particular aspect. This is how we progress in life, because if we always did something perfectly we would never have to change our ways.

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  7. Which archetypes, be specific, apply to the film?

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  8. I think the scene when Dia picks up a gun and aims at Danny and his father is very significant. Dia's story parallels Archer's in a way. By nature Danny is still a child soldier that has never grown up. He joined army at a very young age and from then on he fights for one army or another and commits crimes on behalf of others. Crimes that would haunt him and make him who he is, cynical, flawed, emotionally crippled, devoid of empathy. He was left powerless witnessing murder of his parents and perhaps since then never got back to believing that he can make his own decision or even come close to knowing what his decisions are. And perhaps joining an army, was an extension of that, in a way, that this was place where he never had to be in a position to make decisions. He only had to follow orders instead. Dia's scene is a symbol of Danny's redemption. Just like Dia, Danny is made to understand by his father that his actions was just a way of surviving an impossible situation, that he was exploited and had to be someone else as a way of surviving. That now is the moment to stop being that person, start being yourself and follow what you truly believe. It is also a moment when both Dia and Danny are forgiven, understood and shown love. This is the moment the powerlessness ends and own decisions can be made again. Decisions that will not involve killing for diamonds or money or fighting on someone else's behalf. It's a scene of release and a breaking point, a catalyst on Danny's path of change.

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