Invictus Gives it a Good Try
At first I was really interested in seeing this, since the last Rugby movie I saw (Forever Strong) was like a good Lifetime film. But after reading some of the reviews and hearing some strong disapproving comments from my peers who said this is another Lifetime film made me almost skipped it.
Well I’m glad I saw it in theaters, it was a jolly good time. I never once felt that the movie was made for TV, and overall enjoyed it. Its nothing Oscar worthy, and I’ve really got no idea about the true life aspect of it, it was just a fun sports movie with a twist. Its a sports movie from the perspective of Nelson Mandela rather then the typical star player approach. Sure that aspect is there through Matt Damon’s character, Francois Pienaar, but its more of a side story then the main event.
Other then that its a pretty paint by numbers sports movie, it was just enjoyable and I felt all the cast did an excellent job. Damon’s South African accent was really good (Leo should take note) and Freeman gave the best performance he’s given since Shawshank. As for Clints directing? It was fine, nothing fancy, maybe too many start low then move high shots. But overall it was simple and effective.
The only real standout odd moment was the 1970s airplane heist thriller that happened for 5 minutes out of nowhere right before the big match. Its stupid but the pay off is funny, that’s one of those events were I would like to know if it really happened or not.
As for the Rugby. Well it turned out better then I thought it would, but lack of line outs was sad because those are a lot of fun for everyone. I felt all the actors looked and acted like Rugby players, the practices and games looked like actual Rugby games. Clint’s attempt to put you INTO the game was ok, he really only bothers to do it with the final match. What I did really like about it though was the fact that it felt REAL. That Matt Damon and his team where playing for a live audience. Most sports movies typically shot from certain angles as to not show the audience because they don’t have enough to fill the stands or the stands looks really fake. Unfortunately our projectionist was a bit blind and the whole movie was kind of blurry for everyone I went with, so I could not really tell if the audience was just CGI or real people. But the matches worked for me, made me want to put on my rugger shorts again.
Overall it’s just a solid run of the mill sports film, its a feel good hit and if you want to enjoy it you will, if you want to get upset over its contrivances or lack of emotional weight of the story for a Nelson Mandela film then you will. Maybe I should expect more from Clint Eastwood/Morgan Freeman/Matt Damon, but to see none of them show boating and just putting on a good time worked for me.
Oh yeah one last thing, someone tell Chiwetel Ejiofor to look out because Tony Kgoroge is gunning for his career. Tony played Mandela’s lead body guard and the body guard’s side story added to the enjoyable nature of the film.