It has to be said that Clint Eastwood has never made a bad film. His latest project, â€œInvictusâ€ is right up there in directorial quality with other Eastwood films like â€œMillion Dollar Babyâ€ and â€œMystic River,â€ despite having a very different effect on the viewer.
â€œInvictusâ€ follows the early political career of Nelson Mandela after his release from the Victor Verster prison in 1990 and his eventual election to the South African presidency in 1994.
During his first term, Mandela sought to heal post-apartheid South Africa in several ways, but most intriguingly, he used rugby to unite the people.
The movie reveals how separated post-apartheid citizens of South Africa really were. Blacks preferred soccer to rugby, citing that rugby and their rugby team the South Africaâ€™s Springboks were symbols of apartheid. Whites preferred rugby to soccer, citing their heritage and tradition.
When the time comes for the democratically elected government officials to decide whether or not to change the Springboks logo, Mandela makes the unpopular decision to oppose the change in favor of supporting the Springboks while they compete for the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
As the movie progresses, itâ€™s impossible not to be stunned by Morgan Freemanâ€™s performance as Nelson Mandela. He is pitch perfect. Freeman portrays the cadence, tone and demeanor of Mandela with excellence.
As the Springboks advance toward the World Cup so does the support the South African people, both blacks and whites. Even Mandelaâ€™s black secret service guards start to become friends with the white guards over their new enthusiasm for rugby.
Overall, the movie sings as a testament to the political and humanitarian genius of Nelson Mandela. But as a sports film, it probably has a bit too much dialogue to keep the hardcore sports film fans entertained. Rent it.
Movie reviewer Laura James can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org_.