Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Invictus was released in Canada on December 11, 2009. The names of mention in the cast are Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon, and the film is directed by Clint Eastwood.

Needless to say, any plot that revolves around the life of Nelson Mandela is an inspirational one. In Invictus, Eastwood and his screenplay writers zone in on a brief period of Mandela's life, following his release from prison and election as President of South Africa. It is the year or so leading up to the 1995 World Cup of Rugby, hosted by South Africa. It reveals how Mandela inspired reconciliation between the races by encouraging the whole nation to get behind the Springboks, the national rugby team that was previously hated by black South Africans. Some have criticized the plot, alleging that following the World Cup the nation went back to its racist ways. However, Mandela's support of the Springboks has been widely accepted as a major step in racial reconciliation in South Africa. To minimize the impact based on incomplete resolution of such a deeply complex issue is profoundly provincial thinking, at best.

In addition to its entertainment value, this film must get some attention from the Academy. This is typical Eastwood directorship, the screenplay is great, and both Freeman and Damon are wonderful. It has been said that Mandela has requested that if a movie were ever produced about his life he would cast Morgan Freeman to play himself. He will not be disappointed by Freeman's portrayal. As for Damon, this may be his best acting performance since Good Will Hunting.

Invictus will appeal to a very broad audience. The film can be described as inspirational, political, historical documentary, and a sports movie. Those who may be disappointed or critical may need to lighten up their expectations of the big screen.

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