Invictus (2009) Review

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.

I have to admit that I did not know the story before going to see this film as I am too young to remember it when it happened at the time. So I was learning the whole story whilst watching the film and really found it quite amazing. The fact that a sports team can manage to bring together a country which has been split for years and make them all have hope for a new time.

The film starts in 1990 when Nelson Mandela is released from prison and how this is seen from white and black points of view. It then fast forwards to when Mandela runs for President and blacks were allowed to vote alongside whites. This saw Mandela be elected the new President of South Africa, and he wanted to create a united country. In doing this he decides to use the Rugby team to unite the country. Especially with South Africa being the hosts for the 1995 World Cup finals. This sees Mandela wanting the team to win the world cup. François Pienaar was the captain of the Springbok side who went onto win the World Cup.

I love sport and it is such a massive part of my life, it always has been and always will be. So a real life story in which a sports team had such an impact on a country and even the world is so inspiring. But with it also being in conjunction with a story about a man who had been in a small jail cell for nearly 30 years (and to quote of the film) was willing to come out and forgive the people who put him there is even more inspiring. Especially as he not only forgive them he wanted to help change everyone lives and make everything better for them as well.

I was very much looking forward to this film as I am such a massive Clint Eastwood fan. In the directors chair I really feel that no-one does it better than Eastwood. The main parts which really got to me in this had to be the slow motion used for the World Cup winning kick after extra time in the game and the remaining 30 seconds all in slow motion. As I have actually experienced sporting moments like this whilst inside a stadium. I also found the recreation of the rugby scenes brilliant as well, it really did look like a real game. The fans in the stadiums were also just brilliant.

I very much liked the inclusion of the poem “Invictus” and the film taking the same name. It is a very inspirational poem. (I later checked that it was not this poem which Mandela gave Pienaar, but a brilliant choice for the film).

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.

Overall I really did think this film was good even though the South African accents used by Freeman and Damon have been critised. I was not really sure how good (or bad) they were as I don’t really know much about the South African accent and have not heard it very much. A very entertaining and informative film about a very important part of history which should be remembered forever.

12 thoughts on “Invictus (2009) Review

    • Yeah it always seems that biopic’s either get a lot of awards or kinda go untouched like this one just recieving nominations and not actually picking up the awards.

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  1. Dug this movie an awful lot, but when it got to that final between South Africa and New Zealand, I found myself restless. I think I’ve grown to care about Clint’s directorial work so much, that the bar is a little higher for him now.

    This is definitely a great film, but within Clint’s repertoire, it’s a bit wanting.

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    • I can totally see your points and know what you mean. At times I actually forgot it was a Clint Eastwood film, just with it being different from his usual type of film.

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