Saturday, July 24, 2010

Invictus - Movie Review

Invictus is a noble attempt to join a sports underdog story with historical drama and, though entertaining, unfortunately, it fails.

Nelson Mandela uses the pursuit of World Cup victory by his nation's rugby team as a way to unite his nation after years of apartheid. I'm not sure if that was really true or just a plot conceit - I'm glad Mandela had faith enough in his team but what if they had lost? It seems to me a better thing to get united about would be to unite against a common enemy with more substance than another nation's rugby team but then I'm not a big sports fan so what do I know? Still, as deliberate domestic policy, if it were me, I gotta say I'd ask a little more from my countrymen than rooting for the home team.

Director Clint Eastwood is certainly capable of pulling off a great movie and he gives us a good one here. I enjoyed the locations - we see both the good and the bad of South Africa and if anyone's going to bring it to us in an entertaining way, it's Eastwood. (What, you think Spike Lee could do this? Right.) The performances are fine. Morgan Freeman simply cannot deliver a bad performance and I'm always a fan of Matt Damon despite his kooky politics. But as with most Hollywood stories about the struggle of blacks, you have to tell a white person's struggle as well. It's as if they're afraid the audience can't relate to black character's struggle alone. Damon's character seems more of a bystander to history than a particpant but the scene where he witnesses the cell where Mandela spent so many years is genuinely moving.

Yes, it's a true story and yes, South Africa wins (Oh, wait, spoiler alert!)but I was still a little underwhelmed by it.

No comments:

Post a Comment