What does Nelson Mandela do after becoming president of South Africa? He rejects revenge, forgives oppressors who jailed him 27 years for his fight against apartheid and finds hope of national unity in an unlikely place: the rugby field. Clint Eastwood (named 2009’s Best Director by the National Board of Review) directs an uplifting film about a team and a people inspired to greatness. Morgan Freeman (NBR’s Best Actor Award winner and Oscar nominee for this role) is Mandela, who asks the national rugby team captain (Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominee Matt Damon) and his squad to do the impossible and win the World Cup. Prepare to be moved – and thrilled.
Check out my review over the jump.
Official Site Link: www.invictusmovie.com
Release Date: May 18, 2010
Strongly acted, wonderfully directed, Invictus is a powerful story about South Africa president Nelson Mandela’s desire to unite his country through the 1995 Rugby World Cup. I would hazard a guess that given how relatively unknown the sport of Rugby is here in the States, many people were unaware of this story. I can only imagine how our media would portray and capture this story had it happened during the new media boom.
Another strong outing by director Clint Eastwood, with strong performances throughout from stars Morgan Freeman (Nelson Mandela) and Matt Damon (François Pienaar) and others, Invictus captures this important event in the history of South African remarkably well. You really feel like you’re getting an inside look into a once-in-a-lifetime happenstance. Best of all, the film never gets bogged down in the details. There’s no rush and pacing is spot-on. For a 2+ hour film it certainly doesn’t feel it. The film also never gets too political. It really has a great balance between the politics and the underdog story.
When it comes to the technical merits of this disc, Invictus has a very solid video presentation. I wasn’t blown away by any particular scene, but overall I’d say it’s a fairly strong presentation, particularly on the close-ups. Audio — sporting what now seems like the standard/preferred codec, HD DTS-HD Master Audio in 5.1 channels — is equally impressive.
The highlight of the special features on this disc is the Picture-in-Picture (exclusive to Blu-ray). As with other PiP features, this special feature plays various segments in the lower right corner of the TV screen during the duration of the film. There’s a fair amount of information sprinkled throughout the feature’s run-time and best of all, very little breaks between the action and the special content. Featuring interviews and perspectives from the actors, crew and historical figures, this is a very comprehensive nicely put together feature. If there’s anyone who feels like the film was too short on details, this is where you should turn to. South African screenwriter Anthony Peckham brings a wealth of information, while players from the 1995 World Cup team (including François and Chester) and members of the President’s security team offer even more.
Here is the list of special features (the * denotes this special feature is exclusive to the Blu-ray release):
- *In-Depth Picture-In-Picture — Explore the movie’s creation with those who lived the real-life saga as well as the cast and filmmakers.
- *Mandela Meets Morgan — Get to know the legendary world leader as the actor meets with him to prepare for the film.
- *The Eastwood Factor — Clint Eastwood looks back at his films and career.
- Matt Damon Plays Rugby — Turning a Hollywood star into a rugby player.
- Invictus Music Trailer
Invictus tells a great story through great directing and a terrific cast (with outstanding performances in particular by Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon). This is an easy recommend for me.
The Blu-ray release also includes both the DVD version and Digital Copy of the movie (contained on the same disc) and it’s BD-Live active (although there currently isn’t any exclusive content available).
I give this Blu-ray a score of 4/5.
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