Nelson Mandela: “Brothers, sisters, comrades: I am here because I believe you have made a decision with insufficient information and foresight. I am aware of your earlier vote. I am aware that it was unanimous. Nonetheless, I believe we should restore the Springboks; restore their name, their emblem and their colors, immediately. Let me tell you why. On Robben Island, in Pollsmoor Prison, all of my jailers were Afrikaners. For 27 years, I studied them. I learned their language, read their books, their poetry. I had to know my enemy before I could prevail against him. And we DID prevail, did we not? All of us here… we prevailed. Our enemy is no longer the Afrikaner. They are our fellow South Africans, our partners in democracy. And they treasure Springbok rugby. If we take that away, we lose them. We prove that we are what they feared we would be. We have to be better than that. We have to surprise them with compassion, with restraint and generosity; I know, all of the things they denied us. But this is no time to celebrate petty revenge. This is the time to build our nation using every single brick available to us, even if that brick comes wrapped in green and gold. You elected me your leader. Let me lead you now.”
Plot: Nelson Mandela, in his first term as the South African President, initiates a unique venture to unite the apartheid-torn land: enlist the national rugby team on a mission to win the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
In my usual way with my superb planning skills, I didn’t post a Blindspot post last month, so this month there will be TWO. I have a long line of reasoning why exactly I didn’t post in February, but it will take way too long to type out so let’s just talk what I thought about Invictus!
Respectfully said, it usually irritates the shit out of me when the world tries to understand and dissect South-Africa’s history and the Apartheid struggle. I feel that few other countries understand the emotions involved, especially when it comes to Nelson Mandela and the 1995 World Cup. I really wanted to see the movie but knew I would likely walk out unimpressed with it.
It did come as a surprise that I enjoyed parts of it. Morgan Freeman did a beautiful job portraying Mandela, although his South-African accent slipped quite frequently and the American came through very strong. Freeman managed to bring that incomprehensible humility and forgiveness that is such a big part of Mandela’s character.
Matt Damon gave me days of laughter as Francois Pienaar. The few Afrikaans words were hilarious in pronunciation, and his determined switching back to English immediately is quite humorous if you consider that Pienaar is as Afrikaans as a koeksister. I did like Damon in here though; he made you understand how difficult it must have been for Pienaar to carry a nation’s reconciliation on his shoulders.
I enjoyed seeing some South-African actors in here and it’s pretty awesome that they got to play a part in a Hollywood film. It was very obvious by the accents who were truly South-African and who had taken lessons to pronounce those “Rs” so loudly. (Tip: All those bodyguards are definitely South-African)
I liked how the movie followed numerous characters through the movie to try and capture the reconciliation process: The black boy who initially wouldn’t touch a Springbok jersey in fear of retaliation from his friends who ended up attending the final game, the white South-Africans who initially booed Mandela in the stadium who ended up cheering themselves hoarse for him, Pienaar’s hopelessness in carrying his team through the tournament ended up in him ferociously leading them through the tournament and then finally Mandela’s bodyguards who distrusted each other and ended up playing rugby together and cheering at the final.
I had some issues with the directing – it seemed rushed in places and vague in others, and didn’t feel properly worked off. I also wished they could have done the national anthem properly, because their take on it is NOTHING like the roaring at South-African sporting games (they could basically just have taken any old recording and that would have been way better)
Overall I enjoyed this movie, and although it didn’t capture the heart of what really happened, it also didn’t annoy me too much.