Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It


Wednesday, Jan 20 2010
A rosy tale of racial reconciliation neatly wrapped in a triumphalist sports movie (and blessedly free of spurious Obama parallels), Clint Eastwood's new movie tells the story of how freshly elected South African President Nelson Mandela (played by Morgan Freeman in a subtly crafted performance that blends Mandela's physical fragility with his easy charm and cerebral wit), with help from Afrikaner rugby team captain Francois Pienaar (Matt Damon, gym-pumped into Michelin Man and oozing fair play), turned a World Cup match into a moment of rainbow solidarity. Adapted by South African writer Anthony Peckham from a book by former London Independent journalist John Carlin, Invictus is stately, handsomely mounted, attentive to detail, and relentlessly conventional. As a portrait of a hero, the movie effortlessly brings a lump to the throat; as history, it is borderline daft and selective to the point of distortion. You can't shoehorn a nation's history into a single movie, but Peckham's dialogue, stuffed with strenuously underlined exposition, blazes an indecently fast trail from mutual suspicion to interracial love and understanding, expunged of the inconvenient Winnie Mandela and reducing the ANC to thuggish ideologues. That Mandela is a great man is beyond dispute—but that's no excuse to position him in a thoroughly Great Man theory of history, or into the mold of Eastwood's courtly masculinity.
Starts: Jan. 15. Daily, 2010

About The Author

Ella Taylor


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment


  • Pritkin Mansion 2014
    Browse through the eclectic Pritkin mansion. Photographs by Nathaniel Y. Downes.
  • Rock Scully Tribute 2014
    Moonalice and Fall Risk perform at Slims on December 20th for the Rock Scully tribute. Photographs by Jamie Soja.

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed