Nelson Mandela, in his first term as the South African President, initiates a unique venture to unite the apartheid-torn land: enlist the national rugby team on a mission to win the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
The film tells the inspiring true story of how Nelson Mandela joined forces with the captain of South Africa's rugby team to help unite their country. Newly elected President Mandela knows his nation remains racially and economically divided in the wake of apartheid. Believing he can bring his people together through the universal language of sport, Mandela rallies South Africa's rugby team as they make their historic run to the 1995 Rugby World Cup Championship match. Written by
The filmmakers wanted a well-known British actor to play Francois Pienaar's father and auditions were made from December 2008 to March 2009. It was finally decided to cast a lesser-known South African actor (Patrick Lyster) instead. See more »
In the film, scrums are given the "Crouch, touch, pause, engage" command by the referee. This command was added to the laws of rugby in 2007 to make scrums safer. See more »
High School Boy:
[seeing passing motorcade]
Who is it, sir?
High School Coach:
It's the terrorist Mandela, they let him out. Remember this day boys, this is the day our country went to the dogs.
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Warner Bros.' logo from 1994 is used for both the opening and ending of the movie in keeping with the time period of the film. See more »
In surely one of his lightest and straight-forward works of his career, Clint Eastwood has achieved one of the most inspirational films of the year with his new film, Invictus.
Starring Academy Award Winners Morgan Freeman as South African President Nelson Mandela and Matt Damon as Rugby Captain Francois Pienaar, Invictus is a picture full of emotion, magnetism, and revelation. What critics and audiences may be deceived by is belief that this is THE Nelson Mandela biopic which it is not. It is the story of Nelson Mandela's first years as President of the culturally separated country South Africa in 90's. In a way to unify his people, Mandela used the country's love for Rugby to connect the whites and the blacks. As their record has been less than impressive, no one expects anything notable from the Springboks. Mandela taps the captain of the team to rally his troops and surge into battle for the greater good of his country.
Everything about Invictus works on so many degrees of the medium based on the book "Playing the Enemy." The film never comes off as too pretentious or egotistical; it requires nothing more from the viewer than an open mind and heart. Eastwood directs the film perfectly, laying back when he needs to, never pushing the subject matter or shoving it down our throats. He utilizes all the skills we've come to love about his earlier works in Million Dollar Baby, Mystic River, and Letters from Iwo Jima. The use of light shows a character' s vulnerability inhabiting their souls or a score by Kyle Eastwood that offers both zeal and subtlety during a rugby match.
Cinematographer Tom Stern hits another one out of the park, catching all the fury and apprehension of all the different elements of this strenuous time. Joel Cox and Gary Roach edit the film with the perfect amount of precision and friction.
Morgan Freeman as Mandela is a wonderful charmer, showing the man's most hostile yet tranquil behaviors. Not necessarily the most engulfed characterization seen on film this year as Freeman's accent comes in and out of remission, but it's a tremendous performance worthy of an Oscar nomination.
Matt Damon, showing himself as one of the best working actors today, doesn't have enough of the character depth and arc to carry the picture. Damon's performance doesn't allow him to really go anywhere. It's a superb turn, with a great accent inhabitance, that warrants credit where the credit is due. However, Damon requires nothing more than a little motivational speaking and responsive humility.
Invictus, is one of the best pictures of the year, standing in the ranks of one of the best sports films of the decade. This is the type of film that Oscar will likely be all over and fall in love with. I concur.
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