Invictus - Blu-ray Review

'in the 21st Century, have we really outgrown a bit uplifting triumphalism in our drama?'

Maybe it's a sign of the times in which we live that Invictus, Clint Eastwood's film which winds together the story of newly post-apartheid South Africa and the 1995 Rugby World Cup, got some distinctly sniffy reviews on its cinema release. All of the negative reviews seem to focus on the fact that Eastwood's drama is almost too true; too clichéd, too positive, too downright accurate for it's own good. In the 21st Century, have we really outgrown a bit uplifting triumphalism in our drama?

Of course, there is some logic behind the criticism, most of which can be levelled at the film's closing half hour which ditches the reserved score in favour of some out-of-place choral music and pitches head-first into slow motion hell, creating a melodrama which had previously been so ably avoided. Problematic though these elements are, Invictus' conclusion is still distinctly satisfying, still rooted, importantly, in the reality that Eastwood creates diligently throughout the rest of the runtime.

It's a runtime that is littered with standout moments. Eastwood sets his tone somewhere below rousing but nevertheless, distinctly patriotic, balancing moments where Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) must overtly address his people as to their problems with quieter moments of a real politician at work (the scene where Freeman and Damon, as Rugby captain François Pienaar, take tea is a gem), creating a mood that runs the gamut of political history lesson, stoical biopic and sporting drama and emerges a victorious medley.

Although, in later scenes, it becomes a very clunky way to explain how Rugby works for the uninitiated, Eastwood's decision to show South Africa's problems in the microcosm of Mandela's security team is inspired, creating several more human characters to flank Freeman and Damon, both of whom are on top form. Tony Kgoroge in particular is fantastic and compelling, his character detailing the day-to-day practicalities that South Africans had to come to terms with quickly and bravely, actions which, you would think, today's world could celebrate with a little less cynicism.

Look further...

'Freeman and Damon’s chemistry is crucial to the plot and they had that in spades' - FlixChatter

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