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Eastwood shoots. Eastwood scores.
on December 12, 2011
During his 27 years in prison, Nelson Mandela regularly turned to a poem Called Invictus, and found profound inspiration.
During his time as President he continued to turn to this poem, and knowing it by heart, wrote it out long hand, and to the Captain of the Sprinboks passed it, who found profound inspiration.
During my life, I found profound inspiration in Nelson Mandela, and if a man can live in the unfair divided regime called apartheid, can spend so much time in prison, and emerge wise instead of rancorous, and can become president of a nation so divided, it raises the bar of human possibility, and inspires us to do better. If Mandela can solve the unsolvable problems of South Africa, if the Berlin Wall can fall, then cannot my own country's problem be solved, could there be peace in Nothern Ireland. All of these things which once seemed impossible have come to pass.
And Invictus the movie invites us to see Mandela in elegant action, uniting a divided nation, averting civil unrest and civil war, reviving the sport of apartheid (rugby), saving the Springboks from being disbanded, and playing a pivotal role in inspiring their triumphs.
Clint and Morgan, between them have won numerous Academy Awards on their previous collaborations. Morgan Freeman won best Supporting Actor for Million Dollar Baby playing Clint's sidekick, and played Clint's sidekick in Unforgiven.
Morgan Freeman impresses as Mandela, who he knows personally, and does an outstanding job. As much if not more is conveyed through a nod, a gesture and a facial expression than through words. Matt Damon impresses as the Rugby Captain. Having played rugby myself, he totally convinces in his body language and movement as a rugby player.
Clint Eastwood does an impressive job outside his normal territory and familiar genre, making the rugby scenes very true to life. Usually the cameras are off field, here they are up close and personal in the thick of the action.
My one critique of the movie is that it lacks something Hollywood likes, namely the conflict, drama, and the hubris of the characters.
In Changeling for example, Christine Collins has to overcome great adversity, and transform from a mom mourning her missing child to an activist, even being committed to a psychiatric hospital because she disagreed with the police captain.
In Invictus, the great Nelson Mandela adversity has already happened before the events of this movie happen, so the great dramas of his life remain unexplored, and the drama of his wife Winnie being charged with murder also remains unexplored. A quality movie made about all that, would surely win many awards.
Invictus remains a great movie, it's funny sometimes, it's gripping, it's inpiring, it's even exciting. Although it's Morgan Freeman's movie, it's Eastwood's humor that's pervasive. It's a slice of Mandela, but not the whole cake.
Trivia. Watch out for the other Eastwoods, Kyle scores the music. Scott, scores the winning points, and plays No. 10 for the Springboks. Invictus means, unconquerable, invincible. I hope this was helpful to you.