134 Min | Biography – Drama – History | February 2010
IMDB Rating: 7.4
Director: Clint Eastwood
Starring: Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon
Invictus Review: 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. 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.
Everything about Invictus works on so many degrees of the medium based on the book “Playing the Enemy.” Invictus 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.
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.
Links to Download ‘Invictus’ in the excellent SQ print: