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Friday, February 19, 2010

Invictus: Review

The man! The legend! Clint Eastwood returns to make a Nelson Mandela movie with Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon! This has gotta be a great film guaranteed... Well not so much.
Invictus is about the first term of Nelson Mandela who initiates a unique venture to unite the apartheid-torn South Africa by enlisting the help of Francois Pienaar and the national rugby team on a mission to win the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
Really, the more I think about it.. I get the feeling that Clint Eastwood is only good at directing movies where there's lotso guns in it. With the exception of Million Dollar Baby, all his other "peace and love" films are just okay. But the films that are really great are those where there's characters carrying big ass guns like Gran Torino, Letters From Iwo Jima, Mystic River and Unforgiven. Just a thought is all.
And how amazing was Morgan Freeman in this playing Nelson Mandela? Every time I watch this man, one thing kept popping in my head- Ben Kingsley from Gandhi. Morgan Freeman's performance was right up there with Ben Kingsley's Gandhi. And yeah, Ben Kingsley did nail his character much better but Morgan Freeman was still equally spectacular.
But I really don't see much of a point of having the character Nelson Mandela in this movie, because Invictus was not a biographical film. Invictus was a sports film. The movie is more centred around Matt Damon and the rugby team winning the World Cup and every now and then we just get Nelson Mandela coming in and being a cheerleader for them. I found myself more drawn to the story of the rugby team and less interested in Mandela cause he's really not doing that much besides shaking peoples' hands and saying, "Good luck."
Eastwood should have made it very clear what the main focus of the film was. And with the material he had in Invictus, he could have made two great companion pieces like he did with Letters From Iwo Jima and Flags of Our Fathers. He could have done one film that is a biographical movie of Nelson Mandela and knock it out of the park like the Gandhi movie. And then have another movie where it's about Matt Damon and the rugby team being inspired by Mandela to win the World Cup.
Putting these two stories just cluttered up the film too much and made it one hella long movie that goes back and forth between Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman. But I gotta admit, the film did balance itself really well and I wasn't bored at all throughout the whole movie.
Oh and by the way, that Matt Damon guy looks like a freaking tank in this film. I mean the dude was fucking huge. And not The Informant! kind of huge, I mean like Jason Bourne on steroids huge. There's one scene where he's going jogging and he comes towards the screen and I thought Matt Damon was going to bulldoze me. But wow was he great in this to. I'm not familiar with South African accents but I thought his speech pattern was pretty darn good and he never breaks character throughout the film.
The score of the film is really magnificent. It reminded me so much of the Broadway soundtrack of The Lion King where it just celebrates the beauty of African music and haunting tribal chants. And a nice surprise was when I found out the guy who did the score is actually Clint Eastwood's son. Damn a father son tag team in a Mandela movie.. Awesome!
Really there's so much I like about Invictus but at the same time the only thing holding this movie back from being an 8/10 is the damn plot. It was way too convulated and jumps back and forth between a biography movie and a sports underdog film.

RATING: 6/10

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