Starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon
Directed by Clint Eastwood
Rated PG-13 for brief strong language
Appropriate for ages 10+
Noticing that his country is strictly divided between white and black lines, newly elected president Nelson Mandela (Freeman) attempts to unite his country by getting them to support their national Rugby team as they compete for the World Cup. By charging the team captain (Damon) with the goal of winning this all-important task, the two set off to change their country and bring positive attention upon themselves from the world.
Director Clint Eastwood, now 79, has turned in his most ambitious project yet, and he has done so impressively. To make a film about apartheid is one thing, but to make a film about apartheid by using the little-known game of Rugby*, and making it seem so familiar and universal – well that is just an amazing feat. I still don’t understand the sport in the least, but I completely understand everything that was accomplished according to the story, and what a great story it was.
It’s fairly obvious that Morgan Freeman looks like Mandela, but his performance here was very convincing as well. He is sure to be commended come awards time for this role. Damon was also excellent as the captain of the Rugby squad, as was the rest of the supporting cast.
My only negative critique is that I’m not a big fan of the use of the slow motion technique Eastwood uses at the end of the final game. It drags the scene on and distracts way to much from the action at hand. That being said, it’s forgivable.
Overall, this was one of the best films of year with an unforgettable story that will be appreciated now and for years to come. It works as a sports thriller, a political drama, and a biopic. So now I wonder what Clint will do when he’s 80. A
* I need to clarify that Rugby is only a little-known sport in the United States. World-wide it is one of the most popular sports, and thus a great subject matter for a film such as this. Since this is a Hollywood production, though, I am making the assumption that it little-known to most of its US audience. That being said, I can’t wait to see my first Rugby match the next time one appears on ESPN.