Sunday, June 12, 2016

Invictus (2009)

One of the handful of odd man out films from Clint Eastwood concerns Nelson Mandela's effort to unite South Africa by having the national rugby team make a run at the world championship. Also as sports films go, this one is a real odd duck since the film is largely concerned with Nelson Mandela as opposed to the soccer team who come into the picture in the second half

I’ve been sitting on my thoughts about INVICTUS for a couple of weeks. I say that because the way I write reviews is to see a film and then as soon as possible to sit down and write up the film. I don’t like to have the review hanging over my head, and more often than not unless I can see a film a second time soon after seeing it the first time my opinion of a film rarely changes or changes enough to do a rewrite.

With INVICTUS my feelings have been all over the place. After seeing the film in piece a couple of times on cable over the last few years I finally sat down and watched it from start to finish and I’m left puzzled as to what to say.

I do like the film. I think it’s a good portrait of a specific place and time. It’s an often rousing tale. And it’s good enough that I’m taking the effort to write it up here at Unseen. The thing is the mixing of the politics and the sports story don’t completely mix. So much of the time is spent with Mandela that by the time the sports takes the center stage in the second half we kind of get a shorthanded story. It’s the sort of thing where you know why, outside of an audience boost, you know why Matt Damnon was cast as Francois Pienaar, simply that his presence gives a kind of short hand to the role.

This really is an odd duck film. I remember there being great interest in the film before it came out but once it was released and people saw it they kind of looked at it and then instantly moved on to other things. As I’ve said it’s not bad but it’s like that odd ball portrait I a gallery that doesn’t fit.

If you’ve never seen the film it’s worth a look both because it’s a good film and because it’s the sort of thing that wil make you go “Clint Eastwood directed this? Really?” yes really.

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