Invictus (2009)

Its hard for some people to actually play Mandela.

In this drama based on real-life events, director Clint Eastwood tells the story of what happened after the end of apartheid when newly elected president Nelson Mandela used the 1995 World Cup rugby matches to unite his people in South Africa. Based on John Carlin’s book, the film stars Morgan Freeman as Mandela and Matt Damon as Francois Pienaar, the captain of the scrappy South African team that makes a run for the championship.

For me this movie was highly badly advertised. I was expecting by the trailers a film about Mandela, and his struggle to overcome adversity, and somehow adding Matt Damon to the mix. Instead, what i got was just a normal sports drama.

The film is highly inspirational, with some scenes being more powerful than the other, and mostly all of them having to do with overcoming the adversity that struck South Africa so much during these rough and tumble times. I liked how they showed a lot of Mandela, with just pure bluntness of why and how he chose these decisions. There were plenty of scenes by the end of the film that really will make you tear up a bit of just how well it does look.

The only huge problem with this movie is that you have seen it before. Not exactly the way it is, but more of the way it is structured. The sports cliches come right in front of your face very quick into the movie, and by the end I already knew what was going to happen so when it did I wasn’t all that surprised.

I think Eastwood’s direction is very inspired and does some good things here as director, but doesn’t show his best work here. The pace is incredibly slow, and at times you will really lose your attention to this film cause you have just dozed off into la la land. Alos, the rugby scenes could have been a lot more exciting, and could have been done a lot more times than what they were given. I think with any sports movie half of the movies time should be spent on the sport its documenting but this doesn’t do that instead focuses on the politics behind it all.

Freeman does a great job here as Mandela much to my surprise. He brings this presence to the film that is really unmatchable every time he is on the screen, and handles the accent so well to where you don’t think of him as Morgan Freeman. Matt Damon also is very good in this film, but I still couldn’t wrap my head around him being somebody else. I mean hey that’s just me, I just still thought of him as Matt Damon and nothing else really changed my mind.

Consensus: Slow Paced and highly predictable, Invictus offers delightful performances from Damon and Freeman with inspiration, but isn’t Eastwood’s best work.


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