Saturday, February 6, 2010

Review: Invictus

Grade: A

In 1995, shortly after apartheid was abolished, Nelson Mandela is elected to be president in South Africa. As he watches his nation begin to tear itself apart due to racial and economic tension, Mandela joins forces with the captain of South Africa's rugby team to try to unify the country with the universal language of sport. Mandela and the 43 million people of South Africa begin to come together and rally for the team as they make an historic run to the 1995 Rugby World Cup Championship.

This movie was amazing, simply put. The beautiful true story is very powerful and gripping. Clint Eastwood (Gran Torino, Million Dollar Baby) did an amazing job of directing, as usual. The movie is simply beautiful and does a great job showing the turmoil in South Africa in the wake of apartheid. On top of that, the rugby sequences were fantastic and entertaining. I've always liked rugby as it is a real sport that's more aggressive and hard hitting than American football yet the players don't wear pads and yet manage to not cry, unlike football players. They did a great job showing Mandela's love for his country, even after being jailed by it for 30 years. The racial tension in the country after electing the first black president shortly after the end of apartheid seemed eerily familiar at times. I will admit, though, that Eastwood seemed to use a bit too much slow motion footage towards the end of the movie, got a little tiresome, other than that it is almost a perfect movie.

Morgan Freeman (The Dark Knight, The Bucket List) played the role of Nelson Mandela. Freeman did an absolutely amazing job portraying Mandela. He did a great job showing Mandela's passion for his country and all the people in it as well as Mandela's compassion towards all. I would say this is one of Freeman's best performances of his career. Matt Damon (The Bourne Ultimatum, The Informant) played the role of Francois Pienaar, the captain of the Springboks, South Africa's rugby team. Damon gave an incredible performance. On top of being pleased with how well Damon spoke with a South African accent, his performance as the rugby team captain was wonderful as he rallied his team to help unify the country. The rest of the supporting cast in the movie all did a wonderful job, it includes Tony Kgoroge, Patrick Mofokeng, Julian Lewis Jones and Marguerite Wheatley to name a few.

This movie is simply one of the best movies of 2009. I feel it is a movie that simply must be seen by all. It is a very powerful movie to watch and the subject matter is extremely important. This is not a sports movie but it does show that sports can sometimes serve an important purpose. The subject of the end of apartheid in South Africa is overwhelming at times. I am serious, see this movie as soon as possible.

Great quotes: "It says 'He can win an election but can he run a country'… it is a legitimate question."

"I was just wondering how a man lives in a tiny cell for 30 years, then comes out ready to forgive those who put him there."

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