Archive for the ‘Invictus’ Category

Invictus – review

Invictus –¬†viewed 12/26/2009


One thing is for sure before I saw ‘Invictus’…I could care less about rugby, and I hate to say it but I could seriously care less about the life of Nelson Mandela. That being said…it is a genius crafted film by Clint Eastwood, that is delivered by such an expert hand. Only Eastwood would be able take the subject matter of this film, and propel it into being one of the best films of the year.

Pacing, pacing, pacing, it is unbelievable to me how he is able to keep this constantly upward and onward moving tension with his pictures that seem to just get better and better as you sit through them, with each moment expounding upon the last. ‘Invictus’ is no stranger to this formula as I got sucked in more and more throughout the course of the film.

The film starts with the release of Mandela, and his victory as the president of South Africa. All of this happens immediately at the beginning of the film. The rest of the film deals with his attempts to unite South Africa, and the importance with which he believes the Springboks rugby team, lead by captain Francois Pienaar (in a brilliant performance by Matt Damon) can aid in this task. He believes that if they can win the 1995 world cup, it will help in unifying the land. He understands the power that something like a sport has over the common people.

The dividing lines in South Africa are firmly set in place during this time between the oppressed african-americans of the land and the bourgeoisie whites. The Springboks and their green and gold colors have been a glaring statement as to the oppression of the land. Mandela believes that some things need to be rooted firmly in place in the history of the land and forgiveness needs to begin on both sides, or the oppressed will become everything that the whites have feared.

I forgot Morgan Freeman was even playing Nelson Mandela after a while, he is that good and Matt Damon, shockingly to me, deserves Oscar consideration. The film is really about their relationship in trying to unify a land in the best ways they know how in the roles that they have. The only mis-step I would have like to have seen is how the tremendous weight of the task at hand effects Damon’s character. You can see that he understands the importance of his role, but we don’t really understand the effect it has on his life and those surrounding him over the course of the film, just subtle glimpses of this. The film also is not able to break the sports movie finale formula either which has become so cliched over the years, but in this case….I don’t think I really cared. I was that into climax of the film.

Eastwood, at almost 80 years old, seems to be at the height of his career over the past 15 years as a director, which is a truly remarkable feat. He is able to take subject matter that is very complex and break it down to a specific event within that timeline, that emphasizes the impact it can have on that greater event. Hats off to you Mr. Eastwood, and here is wishing we get another 15 years of fantastic movies from you.

Grade: B+