Saturday, January 16, 2010

INVICTUS

INVICTUS is one of the best films I've seen this year. I was pretty surprised at just how good the performances were. Morgan Freeman is a sure thing for an Oscar nomination as Nelson Mandela. Although I've always respected him as an actor, I have always felt he never used his voice in a role in a dynamic way. In this film he has spent a lot of time learning the dialect and gives a much deeper performance than he has in any other film. Even Matt Damon is very good at his respective South African dialect in the film.

I'm not sure why this film has not gotten more attention, both from critics and the box-office. Mandela's story is certainly moving, and it's a great sports story as well. I suppose the only criticisms you could make of the film are that it does not explore Mandela or his history as much as one might want from a political film. Although Freeman is excellent in the role, he is painted a bit one-dimensionally in the film, perhaps too perfect to believe as human. (There is only one passing reference to his family.)

Damon's character is never well-developed, and the third act drags a bit as it shifts from political film to sports film. I imagine most Americans have no desire to watch a lengthy rugby match, which is a bit confusing to people who do not know the game. Even with plenty of expository dialogue, the game was still confusing, and too much time was spent on trying to make it exciting.

But these are minor quibbles. Americans can learn a lot about Mandela's teachings in the film, and that alone should make it required viewing. I highly recommend this film to everyone.
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