Written by: Anthony Peckham
John Carlin (book)
Directed by: Clint Eastwood
Theatrical: December 11, 2009
DVD: May 18, 2010
Running Time: 134 minutes, Color
Starring: Morgan Freeman, and Matt Damon
I would like to start my movie review blog with one of the best movies I had seen… Invictus.
Years of apartheid had divided South Africa racially and economically. Invictus tells us about the story of how Nelson Mandela after he becomes the President of South Africa, believes in the power of sports to unite his people. How Mandela invests his time and energy to inspire the South African Rugby’s captain and his team to eventually win the Rugby World Cup in 1995 and along the way also built a positive uniting spirit in then divided people of South Africa. I believe that this spirit of unity he created during his period of presidency has had long lasting effects till date.
This movie brings to light many facts before unknown to me and I believe also to a world audience. It throws light to facts like Mandela’s love for sports, His belief in the positive and uniting spirit of a sport (in this case Rugby) can bring to a divided people, Mandela’s beloved poem “Invictus” that helped him survive mentally and spiritually 27 years of unjust imprisonment.
There is also a scene in which the Rugby team is taken to a tour to the Robben Island. Mandela spend many of the 27 years in prison on the Robben Island. The movie shows the world audience the small prison room where a great leader was held captive for a better part of his life.
Even after suffering years of his life in the hands of the whites, when Mandela became the President he never took to vengeance against his oppressors, very unlike what some of the African leaders would have done. He on the other hand did the contrary and concentrated all his efforts to uniting the whites and the blacks to create a united and strong nation. Such resolution can come only from a person whose ideals and beliefs are deep rooted in love and understanding of his fellow beings.
Some quotes from the movie…
Francois Pienaar: “I was thinking how a man could spend thirty years in prison, and come out and forgive the men who did it to him… “
Nelson Mandela: Forgiveness liberates the soul.
Nelson Mandela: It removes fear.
Nelson Mandela: That is why it is such a powerful weapon.
Nelson Mandela: Brothers and sisters, this is the time to build our nation!
This wonderful and inspiring movie is directed by none other than the living legend Clint Eastwood. Morgan Freeman does the role as Nelson Mandela and Matt Damon as rugby team captain François Pienaar, the captain of the Springboks, the South African rugby union team.
Morgan Freeman’s acting is outstanding and had done justice to the character of Mandela.
The story is based on the John Carlin book Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Changed a Nation.
In this movie Mandela mentions a poem which was his strength and inspiration to survive the long 27 years in prison. The name of the poem is Invictus after which the movie is named.
Invictus was written by William Ernest Henley (23 August 1849 – 11 July 1903) an English poet and critic. He is best remembered for this very poem which he wrote in 1875. The strength, inspiration and power of this poem is fulfilled in the life of Nelson Mandela and many others who found solace in its words.
The poem is as follows…
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.
William Ernest Henley
In the movie Invictus, this poem has been referenced several times, both on screen in form of writing and spoken back drop (narrated by Morgan Freeman).
It is inspiring to see today that the FIFA World Cup is being hosted by South Africa…
This movie is an enduring tribute to a great political leader, Nelson Mandela and a great poet William Ernest Henley… two great human beings.