This is the new film, directed by Clint Eastwood, about how the South African rugby team, the Springboks, won the Rugby World Cup in 1995 and helped to reunite the country on a wave of patriotism just five years after Mandela was released. Morgan Freeman is simply mesmerising as Nelson Mandela and Matt Damon is superb as Francois Pienaar, captain of the team.
I’m a complete believer in the idea that international rugby is more important than most things in life so, granted, I was almost certain to enjoy this movie. I didn’t expect to be quite so emotionally overwhelmed though. This film is a wonderful, triumphant experience and a lesson in life. See here for an excerpt.
Invictus bears no resemblance to the anodyne pap that Hollywood has fed us this year. It is a work of art, a political manifesto and an inspiration to the human soul. The title comes from William Ernest Henry’s poem of the same name in which Mandela found comfort while in prison:
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.
If “Up In The Air” is up its own a*** and an insult to its audience; “Avatar” is an adolescent technogeek’s fantasy, terribly badly realised; “The Hurt Locker” is just another good but not great war movie then “Invictus” is a wonderful, uplifting story that deserves all the praise, all the admiration and all the awards.