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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Invictus - 2009

Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) is a man who spent thirty years in prison, and later becomes the President of South Africa, which in the year 1994 is still divided by apartheid. The Springboks are a loved rugby team in South Africa, and right around the time Mandela is elected the World Cup is about to begin, though their team is lacking in talent and is said to have no chance. However, Mandela sees a chance to bring a divided country together through this game, so he invites a visit from the team captain discussing the Springboks' chances at winning the title. The whole country laughs at the idea, but Mandela's entire goal is to turn South Africa around, and with a little courage, his plan might just work.

Invictus is a film that further proves just how brilliant of a director Clint Eastwood is. As I gave a brief summary up at the top, I think it is quite obvious that Invictus could have easily been a horribly boring story, but then again, with Eastwood's strong direction there is not a wasted moment, or a boring one for that matter. Along with Anthony Peckham's writing, Eastwood carefully crafts a purposeful slow pace, developing the characters and story. Some could find this taking a bit too long to get to the action (rugby) but the character development is so important for the audience here, everyone is happy by the end. Clint Eastwood may not have the consistency that some of the best of all time have, but at his best Eastwood is as good as any director around. With nearly every film he makes, Eastwood is almost always without flaws, and that makes him one of my favorite directors to ever make a film.

2009, or for the actual Oscars it was 2010, was a year I did not like at all for film. This is the year the Academy made the absolutely ridiculous decision to change the best picture nominees from five to ten. Why is this bad? Well, instead of having five so called "great" movies that have a shot at being called the best of their year, we have a few great ones, and five others thrown in there that are decent, or not, so that they can get the "recognition" they deserve. And what comes of this? A film like The Blind Side, which is below average in my opinion, getting an Oscar nomination for best picture over films like Invictus, and Crazy Heart. Which are both far better than The Blind Side, and just very underrated films to me. 2009 was a good year as far as actual movies go, but a bad one for the Academy, though I still disagree with their decision of ten films, 2010 was at least a definite improvement. But it is a real shame, because Clint Eastwood puts a lot of work into his films, and Invictus is nothing short of a solid film that should have gotten more nominations. It is somewhat funny though, the Academy changes it to ten films and still cannot get the nominations right.

Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman were about as good of a pair as they come. The character of Mandela is such an unusual one, the way he acted to his people, and just the way he ran the country in general. Freeman is an actor I have come to love, and I can honestly say there is not a better actor in this world to play the part of Mandela than him. The accent was perfect, as well as Matt Damon's, who is an underrated actor in my opinion. He is inspiring in his role as the team captain of the Springboks, and I gained respect for him as a gifted actor after watching Invictus.

Overall, Invictus is another film by Clint Eastwood that goes in my movie cabinet. I now own more films by him than any other director, and for good reason, because he is brilliant in about everything he does nowadays. Invictus is not perfect, and not Eastwood's masterpiece, as I personally like Letters From Iwo Jima myself. But Invictus is a heart warming tale that handles a sort of racism better than any film I have ever seen.

Rating: 9/10

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