Nelson Mandela, in his first term as President of South Africa, 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.
This movie tells the inspiring true story of how Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) joined forces with the Captain of South Africa's rugby team, Francois Pienaar (Matt Damon) 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 run to the 1995 Rugby World Cup Championship match.Written by
The screenplay for this movie was featured in the 2007 Blacklist; a list of the "most liked" unmade scripts of the year. See more »
At the final game, the New Zealand national anthem is shown being played before the South African ones. In real life, it was the other way around. 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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During the first part of the end credits, pictures are shown of the real life characters that were portrayed in the movie. Those images are then followed by a scene of South African kids playing rugby. See more »
Originally, I thought this movie was going to be a biopic on the life of Nelson Mandela. To some degree, it is a biography on Mr. Mandela, but the film's main focus is on his idea of inspiring a country that is drawn to crime, violence, and poverty (after years of Apartheid) to a glimpse of hope via the nation's rugby team.
Without a doubt, this is the perfect role for Morgan Freeman. I will note that his accent comes and goes throughout the film, but he nails the role down. He is not overly dramatic nor does he just read the script. He becomes the man. Morgan Freeman is easily one of my favorite actors because he never plays himself. He always makes himself into the character he's assigned to. He'll definitely receive the Best Actor nom, and hopefully, Morgan can finally win the Oscar he so desperately deserves.
Regarding Matt Damon as the rugby coach (Francois Pienaar), he too immerses himself into his role. He even maintains a solid accent. However, the sympathy of the film is aimed towards Mandela than it is to Francois. The other cast members (none of which I recognized) also gave decent, believable performances.
As with the plot, it is predictable, something we've seen before underdog overcomes impossible odds, yet screenwriter Anthony Peckham throws in many important themes that may seem all to familiar, but is nonetheless eye-opening such as: forgiveness, unity, and determination to do what is right. Racial tension between the whites and blacks is dominant in the movie, particularly between the black and white security guards, but the film's point, as well as Mandela's goal, is to put our differences aside and work together as one.
The movie isn't just about a rugby game, but rather organizing a nation to a success. It may be considered a wise political move on Mandela's part, but as Morgan says to his aid, "It is a human calculation". People need inspiration in order to change and to do good. These themes are what make it a good film. It also makes it a different kind of sports movie.
Tom Stern's cinematography is wonderful, and this time, he doesn't make the movie all sepia tone like in "Letters of Iwo Jima" or "Changeling" and I congratulate the editors Joel Cox and Gary Roach once again for making each shot beautifully seamless and well structured for the storyline. The music by Kyle Eastwood and Michael Stevens is not just a pretty tone that plays along with the movie, but it adds some oomph and emotion. I particularly love their choice of African vocals, for it not only makes the film feel more real, but it is absolutely beautiful to listen to.
Clint Eastwood has done another great movie. Not only has he captured the themes of the story, but also the poverty of South Africa as well as the intense rugby sequences. There are some powerful scenes in this movie, as well as some intense and suspenseful ones, and even ones that'll make you smile. For the first time in a movie for this year, I actually cried. Not because of sadness, but from joy.
"Invictus" is an inspiring film. Some back-story could have been added to the characters and the first act could have been faster, but overall, I enjoyed this film. "Invictus" proves that it doesn't take special effects and big action sequences to make a great film. It is excellent to see one of our great old directors to recognize this, and display it so wonderfully without being preachy about it.
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