The precious and expensive diamond engagement ring has been an integral part of nearly every marriage proposal for generations. Though, what if this symbol of love and commitment is really nothing more than a capitalistic ruse? That’s exactly what one discovers in director Jason Kohn’s documentary thriller, Nothing Lasts Forever, which will have you reevaluate your concepts of love, desire, and media manipulation.
Nothing Lasts Forever exposes the natural diamond industry for what it really is: A monopolistic cartel that generates artificial scarcity and warped notions of affection in order to push their product. However, when lab-grown synthetic diamonds that look identical to their natural counterpart hit the market, The De Beers Group (the leader in natural diamonds) will do anything and everything to maintain control of their industry.
The revelations revealed in Nothing Last Forever are like something out of a Scorsese crime picture, which makes Kohn’s direction all the more exhilarating. Kohn conducts some of the most illuminating interviews the documentary genre has seen in years, thanks to his inquisitive and probing questioning style. Specifically, his conversations with Martin Rapaport, the founder of the Rapaport Group which standardizes the prices of diamonds, bring into focus just how absurd it is that a shiny stone can have on one’s perception of romantic commitment.
While Nothing Lasts Forever may start as a documentary, its third act becomes a full-blown thriller as synthetic diamond upstarts “go to war” with Rapaport and De Beers. Editors Paul Marchand & Jack Price even utilize cross-cutting techniques to heighten the tension between the dueling industries. Much like the difference between synthetic and natural diamonds, Nothing Lasts Forever is so in tuned with the hallmarks of the documentary and thriller genres, that the audience can’t tell the difference between reality and heightened cinematic flourishes.
The title for Nothing Lasts Forever is a direct response to not only De Beer’s tagline “Diamonds Last Forever”, but also the seminal James Bond flick, Diamonds are Forever. As such, Kohn’s latest subtly reveals the monumental role that media has in influencing our culture and sense of reality. Would De Beers still hold a monopoly if the last 70 years of film and television didn’t hold up the diamond as a symbol of love? In the contemporary era where the line between fact and fiction has been erased entirely, Nothing Lasts Forever posits that humanity has always been swayed by “illusion[s] so spectacular that [they] turn into reality”, we’re just finally recognizing the trick.
The Silver Lining
Nothing Lasts Forever is a thriller through and through, which is in large part due to Logan Nelson’s riveting score. Nelson’s work on the film is mysterious and is reminiscent of Bernard Herrmann’s collaborations with Alfred Hitchcock. Nelson’s score throws the audience into the deep end of this dark diamond world from the get go, which strengthens Kohn’s overall narrative.
SXSW 2022 official selection, Nothing Lasts Forever, releases on Showtime later this year.