Movie Review: InvictusPublished by Clay Cane on Friday, December 11, 2009 at 11:50 am.
Summary: Based on the true story of Nelson Mandela’s first year in office. One of the keys to racial unity in South Africa is the hugely popular, but historically color struck, rugby team. After joining forces with the team captain, Mandela encourages them to win the World Cup, hoping for a shift in the country’s consciousness.
Review: Expect this argument shortly after Invictus is released — after all these years, why is there finally a major film released about Nelson Mandela, but it revolves around soccer? Not Mandela’s amazing life, which is full of pain, resilience and bravery. Imagine a biopic on Ray Charles that was just about one performance. How about a film on Malcolm X that focused on his trip to Mecca and nothing else? This would clearly be a disappointment, especially if you were anticipating learning more about Nelson Mandela. The viewer, no matter how little they know about the leader who unjustly served 27 years in prison, will not learn anything new about this civil rights activist after watching Invictus.
Now that I got that out of the way, directed by 80-year-old Hollywood icon, Clint Eastwood, Invictus is a solid film with award potential. The story is told extremely traditionally but packed with undeniable inspiration. Invictus could’ve easily moved along as another sports film, but with the backdrop of Apartheid and the constant humility from Mandela’s character, one cannot help but be moved, considering the politically divisive times we are living in today here in the U.S.
The crazy glue that holds Invictus together is the beyond flawless performance from Morgan Freeman as Mandela. His performance is better than the entire movie. However, what do you expect from Morgan Freeman? The two-time Oscar winner is the Tina Turner of film — he never disappoints.
Matt Damon, who plays the team captain of the rugby team, gives a wooden portrayal as Francois Pienaar that never gels in such an emotional flick. Pienaar is supposed to be stoic and emotional, which are traits stereotypically given to White Africans, Damon seemed a bit lost — maybe he was in awe of Morgan Freeman.
No big shockers in Invictus. No amazing plot twists. No dose of the unexpected. You know the ending by the beginning credits. On the other hand, one can’t help but walk away feeling inspired, hopeful and confident that not only can our government change for the better, our people can change with it.
Invictus is in theaters today.