Diamond Men (2000)
June 9, 2020 7:05 PM - Subscribe

A thirty-years traveling diamond salesman must mentor a brash young replacement when his company downsizes him.

Slant: Director Dan Cohen’s first feature has Robert Forster’s aging Eddie Miller showing Donnie Wahlberg’s oversexed Bobby Walker the ins and outs of diamond-selling after a heart-attack threatens his future. The geriatric Diamond Men is a bit too twisty for its own good but it’s short-story quaintness brings to mind Barbara Loden’s Wanda. It’s a deeply personal film that’s mindful of the loneliness that often comes with aging. Forster is so good that he makes the film’s ham-fisted metaphors easy to swallow (the character makes obvious associations between character flaws and the imperfections in diamonds).

Roger Ebert: The story, written and directed by Daniel M. Cohen (himself a former diamond salesman), seems to be shaping up as a buddy movie with a good woman at the end of the road. But Cohen has laid the preparations for a series of unexpected developments, which I will not reveal. The movie keeps surprising us. First it's about salesmen, and then it's about lonely men, and then it's about sex, and then it's about romance, and then it's about crime. It reinvents itself with every act.

AV Club: Even as the plot veers off course and into what plays suspiciously like wish fulfillment for aging lonelyhearts, Forster remains riveting, smoothing over the rough spots and redeeming scenes that would probably be cringe-inducing without him. Like most indie road movies, Diamond Men takes a scenic route heading nowhere, but Cohen, Wahlberg, and company are lucky to have an actor of Forster's magnetism to carry the film on his sturdy shoulders.

NYTimes: Inhabiting a role that a needier actor might have distorted with sentimental pathos, Mr. Forster gives a dry, understated performance that keeps the film on an emotionally even keel, even after it goes haywire with an unnecessarily tricky (and unbelievable) final plot twist. Mr. Wahlberg, in his first major movie role, reveals himself to be a charismatic screen natural much like his younger brother Mark. But the former New Kid on the Block, unlike the former Marky Mark, is much more extroverted and conveys a relaxed back-slapping bonhomie that contrasts with his brother's darker, more enigmatic aura.

posted by MoonOrb
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