Sunday, June 06, 2010

Invictus

Sharon, Jack and I watched Invictus on Saturday night. I rented the film as a HD rental on the AppleTV. Starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon, Invictus tells the true story of how Nelson Mandela supported the Springbok Rugby team during the 1995 World Cup as a vehicle for helping to unite South Africa.

We had watched the EPSN 30 for 30 documentary titled The 16th Man in May. It covers the same story. I had really enjoyed the 30 for 30 documentary and was skeptical that the movie would live up to that standard. I was wrong. Invictus is a very good film. The movie does an excellent job of providing a view of the story more from Mandela's view.

I enjoyed Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela. Roger Ebert makes the point in his review that Freeman has been linked to a number of different screenplays about Mandela for more than 10 years. I was less thrilled in Matt Damon as Fran├žois Pienaar, the captain of the Springboks. Pienaar is a much bigger man than Damon. In the documentary footage, he has a much more commanding physical presence than Damon does.

Invictus is a short Victorian poem by the English poet William Ernest Henley. While I found the 30 for 30 documentary more powerful, I recommend both The 16th Man and Invictus. They are a nice compliment to each other.

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