Invictus is the true story of Nelson Mandela in his first term as President of South Africa, he decides one way to try and reunite the post-apartheid country by getting behind their Rugby team as South Africa hosts the 1995 World Cup. That is this film in a nut shell, and I actually do remember that rugby World Cup a little bit and I do remember hearing about Mandela and the South African team. I am not sure how much of this film is real, with films they always do make changes, but the story they do tell for the film is a strong one and it is rather up lifting and it really just makes you wonder, why can’t we all just get along?
I am a huge fan of Clint Eastwood, both as an actor and as a film maker. For Invictus he is solely behind the camera, and this film really does feel like an Eastwood film. He takes his time to tell the story and set everything up, he his known for his slow burn style but everytime he always makes it work, and it is good as well. When there is a lot to say here, and a lot of set up, you really need to take the time to establish things, and Eastwood does it in such a way it always holds your interest and he makes you care about what is going on. He is such a great director, and this is not one of his best films but it certainly is a good one and something a little different. At times the pacing is a little off but for the most part it worked quite well, and I was really impressed with the impact of the actual rugby games. I am not a fan of rugby, not to say I don’t like the sport, I just don’t follow it. But I was definitely engrossed in the action, and when we get to the final game it is rather intense and really well shot and edited.
Who else was going to play Nelson Mandela other then Morgan Freeman? Probably the most predictable casting in history, I think we all knew one day he would play this role. But you know what, as predictable as it is, Morgan Freeman is perfect as Mandela. He looks the part and he played the part, while I think maybe the only weak spot was the accent was a little off, he did such a great job, and I just love Morgan Freeman. He is one of my all time favourite actors, and he really was a joy as Mandela. His supporting cast (the men who play his security ect) really brought their stuff to the table and they made it all work. With the sub story of the whites having to work with the blacks, they have their conflict but as time goes on they start to get along, it was actually quite believable. Matt Damon who is another favourite of mine, was really quite fantastic as François Pienaar the Captain of the South African rugby team. He nailed the South African accent perfectly, I think he might have actually outdone the accent Leonardo DiCaprio donned in Blood Diamond. He looked quite different too, he definitely bulked up for the role and had lighter hair. There are some definitely touch scenes between Damon and Morgan, and you really felt that their characters had quite a big respect for each other, and that definitely goes to show their talent.
This film really captured the time it was set and mood of that time, beautifully shot and some fantastic cinematography, for my anyway it all really drew me in. There is no doubt that Eastwood and Freeman make a good team, and they certainly made a good film. I really would highly recommend this, especially if you are fans of Eastwood, Freeman and Damon. It certainly has its moments, there are some really great scenes in the film. It is a longer film, while that might put people off, I say don’t let it. There is a story here to be told and it needs the time to tell it. I was really impressed and I enjoyed this quite a lot, it definitely gets two strong thumbs up from me.