A lot of sports movies borderline with being inspirational or campy and over the top. 'Invictus' is a breath of fresh air, the acting is to notch, it focuses on an interesting sport (rugby) and not something overdone like football.
'Invictus' (meaning invincible) is based on the true story of Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman), a man elected to be the president of South Africa while the country is on the verge of civil war. He takes a unique approach with his new power and tries to help the country's Springbok rugby team (led by Matt Damon as Francios Pienaar) to win the world cup. His hope is that uniting the mostly white rugby team with everyone else in the country, no matter the color will bring them all together.
Morgan Freeman (Mandela) is a tremendous actor. He's so good that I actually find myself getting legitimately annoyed when people are mean to him on screen. He embodies Mandela and instantly makes you believe in him. Watching Freeman in that role made me think about politics today, it made me wish everyone could get behind a leader the way South Africa eventually got behind Mandela.
Clint Eastwood does a fine job of directing. He really captured the 'togetherness' of the film. Little scenes like Mandela's bickering body guards playing a make shift rugby game outside his meeting. A scene with a young black boy picking up trash trying to listen in on two white police officer's radio of the World Cup. It starts with the mean shooing him away, then cuts to him listening, eventually to sitting on the hood of the policemen's car to sharing a soda with them to eventually celebrating with them, hoisted high on the policeman's shoulders.
Parts of the film get a little carried away, the constant shots of the obvious CGI crowd looked a little fake, and a scene with an airplane that will leave you scratching your head for a minute. Over all the film is good. Where it couldve gone cheesy, it went enlightening. Where we could've gotten forced acting we got brilliant, real performances. I definitely see this as being an awards contender this year. DonKt forget the Golden Globe noms are on Tuesday, with the SAGs following on Thursday.
Recommended: yes 4/5 stars
Memorable quote: "It's working, I need to be angry tomorrow" - Francios (Matt Damon)