Movie Review: Invictus

Published on February 22, 2010

I’m back! I wasn’t really out but my PC was. It finally bid farewell after almost 7 long years of incomparable service to us. I still have quite a few backlog posts but I’ll get this one out of the way first.

Boyet and I skipped Valentine’s Day this year so we decided to go out last Saturday. If we went out last week, we would have watched the star-studded movie Valentine’s Day. But since I wasn’t in the mood for a romantic film, I suggested we go watch Invictus. I’ve heard so many good reviews about this film, plus the fact that this earned Morgan Freeman an Oscar Best Actor nomination and Matt Damon for Best Supporting Actor. I was more intrigued when I learned that Clint Eastwood directed the film. But I have to admit that what really sparked my interest was one of its advertisement that I have been seeing in Ayala underpass. It carries the movie’s tag line.


His people needed a leader.
He gave them a champion.

When I was studying, history is my least favorite subject. I also suck in sports. So imagine how hard it was for me to watch this movie which speaks of these two. I don’t even know how to spot a foul in basketball, much more how rugby works. But these did not hamper me from enjoying the movie, much more from getting what the real message of the film was.

The story begins as Nelson Mandela was freed after almost thirty years of imprisonment and later on became the president of South Africa. Faced by problems on crimes and economy, Mandela has to work on achieving his vision: to eliminate apartheid or racial segregation.


Long ago, the Blacks were treated as minorities with too little or no rights at all. But the tables were turned. During a rugby match, Mandela saw how the South Africans cheered against their own team Springbok, mainly because it was a team dominated by Whites.

Everybody believed that the team should be abolished because Springbok reminds them of how they were mistreated and misjudged. But Mandela saw this as a window for a reconciliation he’s been hoping for.


He talked to the rubgy team captain Fran├žois Pienaar and encouraged him to help the team win the upcoming World Cup. Everybody thought it was madness. His cabinet thinks that there are far more important issues to address rather than meddling on trivial things such as keeping the rugby team alive. It was hard to make the team win the World Cup. But it was harder to unite a nation that has long been divided by racial oppositions.

There are a lot of scenes that struck me. I love this line by Morgan Freeman when he addressed his staff on his first day of presidency.

"Some of you may know who I am. I could not help noticing the empty offices as I came to work this morning and all of the packing up. Now, of course, if you want to leave, that is your right. And if in your heart you feel that you can not work with your new government then it is better if you do leave right away. But if you are packing up because you fear that your language or the color of your skin or who you worked for before disqualifies you from working here, I am here to tell you to have no such fear. What is today is today, the past is the past -- we look to the future now."

When one of his aids said that all the experts think that they wouldn’t even win the quarterfinals, Mandela said: "According to the experts, you and I should still be in jail." He's right. Who are the "experts" to tell what a person can and cannot achieve?

When one guy drank a beer after a terrible loss, he said that the beer tastes shit. Francois then said: "It is the taste of defeat. Drink it, remember this and promise yourself never to taste it again. You're right, it tastes like shit." That one cracked me up! Haha!

But this one is my favorite. It made me question my heart and its ability to forgive. This was Francois's reply to his girlfriend when asked what he was thinking before the big game. "I was thinking about how he spent 30 years in a tiny cell and came out ready to forgive the people who put him in."

I am not sure how well it made in the box-office. I was scared when Boyet and I were the only human beings inside the cinema. We were thinking that it was probably because it was just the first screening of the day. But the movie ended with only 15 people inside.

I highly recommend this film. I have always admired Clint Eastwood both as an actor and as a director. I was never a fan of Matt Damon (Francois) but I have to admit that he gave a stellar performance in this film. And do I have to mention Morgan Freeman? It was as if he was born to play Nelson Mandela.

I think I was in high school when I last read this poem. At that time, it was just a homework which was imposed for us to finish. But now, it's definitely more than that.

Invictus
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.

Photos from www.wikipedia.com and www.collider.com

You Might Also Like

4 comments

  1. I haven't watch a movie since twilight ata...preparing for "miss you like crazy" hehehe.

    what's a bloglist btw? sorry quite new..thanks for adding me =)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I never thought there's such a poem but the last two lines is quite familiar

    ReplyDelete
  3. Welcome back je! I miss reading your posts! :D

    ReplyDelete
  4. Just read this blog since ngayon ko lng napanood yung movie (you know how i hate spoilers?)

    pero ganda nga ng movie.. Just one to share my favorite quote:

    "Forgiveness liberates the soul. It removes fear. That is why it is such a powerful weapon."

    ReplyDelete