welcome to lobos reviews

title image

Movie Review: Invictus

Alternate Title: Against All Odds

Story: There is nothing wrong with a feel good film that also has important historical significance and just happens to appeal to the masses. Director Clint Eastwood knows how to make these movies and is counting on his fan base and earned appeal to get people into the theaters for this inspirational, uplifting film. It was written by Anthony Peckham and is based on the book “Playing the Enemy” by John Carlin.

It is 1995 and recently elected Nelson Mandela is desperately trying to bring together a troubled nation after the nightmare of Apartheid. The Springboks are a rugby team loved by white South Africans and hated by black South Africans. Along with Mandela's idea for national reconciliation and forgiveness he decides that uniting the country around this sports team is worth the effort. The film revolves around this Herculean task.

The film gets bogged down in a few too many side stories and a bit too many sappy visuals, that at times, seemed cloying, obvious and sanctimonious. That said - I am sure the masses who see this film will fall for its evident appeal and actually tear up. We did not.

I know nothing about rugby and after seeing this film only learned that you have to throw the ball backwards or sideways. The film spends the last 20 minutes in the throws of the World Cup final game and I got a bit tired of the grunting, weird pile ups and other sporting stuff.

Should you see this film? Why not? Who does not like stories that inspire with heart and who does not like watching Morgan Freeman do his thing.

Watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqKjVo-9qso

Acting: Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela hits a home run. He captures his style, grace and spirit perfectly. Matt Damon as team captain François Pienaar is always good - period.

Trivia: Joel Stransky kicked the winning goal in the 1995 game. For a profile of him read this article from Jewish Week. http://www.thejewishweek.com/viewArticle/c39_a17434/News/International.html

The poem, Invictus was written by William Ernest Henley in 1875 and was inspirational to Nelson Mandela while he was in prison. Here is the poem:

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Predilection: I have always been fascinated by the politics in South Africa.

Critters: Some street dogs.

Food: Tea and cookies

Sex Spectrum: None

Soundtrack: Often soaring by Kyle Eastwood and Michael Stevens;

Opening Titles: None

Theater Audience: About 20 other people and us.

Sappy Factor: 2

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: The idea of Apartheid is very squirmy.

Drift Factor: I did not drift but it did get a little long and sappy at times.

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No - but the award shows just love Clint Eastwood and who doesn't like Morgan Freeman?

Big Screen or Rental: This is one for the big screen.

Length: Too long at 2 hours and 15 minutes.