Posts Tagged ‘rugby’


January 12th, 2010


Rating: ★★★☆☆

Movie: Invictus (2009)

Studio : Malpaso Productions

Info : Click Here

Runtime : 133 min

Website :

Trailer :


In 1990, Nelson Mandela was released after 27 years in prison and by 1994, he became the first democratically-elected president of South Africa. One of his greatest achievements: making South Africa’s rugby team the best in the world?

There is some method in his madness. Just as Mandela recalls a childhood where booing the team was a sign of rebellion towards the Afrikaners, he sees that bringing a team that South Africa will cheer on as a nation will also bring a divided people together along the way.

You have to credit Clint Eastwood for originality. Not only did he choose a topic that is obscure, but also strangely relevant as well. Think about it: just a few months ago, Peter Jackson released a film centered on apartheid, and Morgan Freeman’s role plays a man whom the Afrikaners partially distrust for seeming more like a celebrity than a politician (a view quite a few Republicans hold in regard towards a certain politician of our own).

I should warn that this really is not a movie you see for the thrill of rugby. Matches have a tendency to be brushed over, and while you can see rules explained from time to time, I was left scratching my head wondering what was going on as the drama was edited into a handful of clips for most of the matches, likely for the sake of time and perhaps better edited out or shortened further.

I don’t think Eastwood knew where to go with this film overall, or what to keep or edit out, perhaps because he was balancing a sports movie with a political one. One plot branch that I thought was unnecessary, for example, involves a trip to Mandela’s prison. It’s significant, yes, but not necessary for Damon’s character at that point.

Freeman delivers the chilling accuracy of Mandela 90% of the time, (the other 10% of the time he sounds like himself). I have to also admit it’s impressive seeing Matt Damon go from his chubby role in The Informant!, into a chunky muscleman that could bench-press Jason Bourne. But acting-wise, undue credit should go to Tony Kgoroge, who plays a quiet, incisive, and eternally paranoid bodyguard for Mandela. When you see him crack a smile, even for a brief moment, it shows you all the inner depth that was implied despite his background role.

If you’re a Freeman fan, then you won’t be disappointed watching him in action. If you’re someone else? There’s always the DVD.

-Donald Lee

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