These feel good/true story sports films come out more often than not and always have the same sweet tooth ending. So you must be asking yourself what is the difference between Invictus and every other feel good sports movie out there? The answer is acting and a story that is about more than sports.
Invictus is the story of Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) and how he brought his country together. When Mandela became the first black President of South Africa his country had been split into two factions: those who wanted revenge for their prior mistreatment, and people who could not let go of their old ways. In a way to bring his country together, Mandela decided to support the rugby team that many in the black community felt represented the ways of the past that they were trying to let go. Mandela used this out right support to show everyone that forgiveness is the first step to change. The only problem with this plan is that for it to work, the Springboks would have to win the World cup. For this achievement, Mandela looked to the Springbok’s team captain (Matt Damon) to lead the way to change.
This is one of those films where the anticipation of what will happen in the end is just not there as it is a story based on reality. Due to that fact the movie totally relies on how the story is told, and while the film has a few major flaws, I believe due to it’s acting, it succeeds. Though I am a sports fan, I usually hate these feel good sports movies. This is because I just don’t see that greatness when it comes to sports as I do in other things. That is what makes Invictus work, it tells the story of the moment in time where a victory on the sports field was truly an achievement worth talking about.
Invictus would not have been a film worth talking about if it were not for the performances by both Matt Damon (Good Will Hunting, Bourne Identity) and Morgan Freeman (The Dark Knight, Shawshank Redemption). Damon not only slipped into his character’s accent with ease, he also put on a substantial amount of muscle for the role. It always impresses me when an actor can not only believably deliver their lines, but also emote an emotional response through their body language, Damon does this with ease. Without the attachment that Damon delivers to the viewer, this movie would not have worked and just been the normal sports fluff that we have all seen before.
Morgan Freeman like Damon gave his whole being over to this role giving a lot of attention to even the smallest details that is Mandela. His performance was outstanding and one of those characters that will live on forever. If you have read this far, at this point you are saying to yourself that this film must be wonderful and at points it is, but a few major flaws are what hold Invictus back from being an all encompassing great film. The movie makes the large mistake of focusing on cheap thrills instead of taking the time to really educate people as to what happened to the people of South Africa. Apart from missed opportunities and poorly timed pop music, Invictus holds up as a good film but a film that could have been great.
I give Invictus 3.5 “Black eyes” out of 5
by Ryan Davis