Reviewed by Kate Rodger
The All Blacks, in a Hollywood movie, how very curious!
And that curiosity factor alone should entice rugby fans as well as cinema fans along to their local cinema, even if it means watching the All Blacks lose that game, again, and on the big screen.
Invictus is directed by multiple Oscar-winner Clint Eastwood, and is based on a book by John Carlin called Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Changed a Nation. The story focuses on the early days of Mandela’s presidency, and the impact the 1995 Rugby World Cup had on post-apartheid South Africa.
Morgan Freeman, long-time collaborator of Eastwood’s, steps up to take on the role on Nelson Mandela, a role the actor has hankered after for many years. He’s perfect casting.
Matt Damon bulks up at the gym and brushes up on his South African accent to play Springbok captain François Pienaar and he does so convincingly. Both Damon and Freeman were nominated for Golden Globes for their performances, and Freeman looks likely to follow that up with an Oscar nod.
So how ‘bout those All Blacks then? Wellington-born rugby player Zak Feau'nati gets some screen time playing Jonah Lomu, and the last 20 minutes or so of the film is That Game, the 1995 Rugby World Cup final, Springboks versus the All Blacks, as orchestrated by Clint Eastwood. We even get a Hollywood haka.
Kiwi audiences have plenty to chuckle about and grumble about. There’s no mention of the food-poisoning allegations, but there’s certainly a heavy dose of hero worship for our home team.
My overall enjoyment of the film was marred by my well-documented inability to engage with Clint Eastwood when he’s behind the camera. He tells his stories with too heavy a hand, the distracting emotional button-pushing alienating me from the simple drama as it unfolds.
Still, there’s plenty here to keep the interest for most, and the performances, particularly Freeman’s, are excellent. 3 stars.
:: Director: Clint Eastwood
:: Starring: Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman
:: Running Time: 133 mins
:: Rating: PG
:: Release Date: January 28, 2010
:: Trailer: Click here
source: newshub archive