Invictus is a film with great character, history, emotion, drama and most importantly a film that is inspirational and overwhelming. To watch one of the greatest men of human history, Nelson Mandela, and his belief in uniting a country that has been long infested with apartheid is surreal.
Clint Eastwood directed and produced Invictus is an uplifting experience, and so does the acting prowess of Morgan Freeman as Mandela and Matt Damon as the then South African rugby team (Springboks) captain Francois Pienaar.
The story is based on the John Carlin book “Playing the Enemy” and how Nelson Mandela and the game, which was considered a white men’s game, gave the nation optimism and reason to look forward to a future as they stand united without fear of that long social and racial segregation and discrimination.
Well, in short, the film chronicles the facts and those days when newly elected South African President Nelson Mandela decided to champion the national rugby team “Springboks” in the run-up to the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa, despite the fact that nearly the all-white rugby team (with only one exception) was considered as a bastion of apartheid.
What follows is an overpowering national sentiment that brought everyone together irrespective of their races to cheer for a team that finally won the World Cup. The moment was electrifying for every South African and so as Mandela, and his dream and belief on those verses of Invictus – William Ernest Henley’s inspirational poem from 1875 – to see black and white together after decades of violence and mistrust.
Clint Eastwood has very finely directed the film knowing the fact he is not going to explore Mandela as a person or his anti-apartheid revolution, rather one of Mandela’s small yet key efforts towards fostering racial reconciliation. Truly, Invictus stands tall in creating an excitingly moving memorial and not just a movie. Thanks to Eastwood and Freeman for reminding us of the history and how Nelson Mandela fought for freedom and unity throughout his life.
Directed by Clint Eastwood
Screenplay by Anthony Peckham
Based on “Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game that Made a Nation” by John Carlin
Cast: Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon
Music by Kyle Eastwood and Michael Stevens
Cinematography: Tom Stern
Release Date/Year: December 11, 2009