I want to set aside the fact that I had no real interest in the story, as well as the fact that I couldn't understand 90% of the dialogue due to the thick accents of the characters. Invictus has to be the most poorly made film Clint Eastwood has directed... at lest in the last 6 years.
I don't know if it's because the story wasn't really film-worthy, or if there actually wasn't any real story there to begin with. It might be that the film was trying to cover too many different elements of the story. There's Mandela with his political issues, family issues, and health issues. There's Matt Damon with his personal issues and his Rugby issues. Then they add in the the bickering between the secret service agents while they try to work together to protect the President even though they are overworked and exhausted. Eastwood tries to squeeze all of that in while telling the story of how a leader successfully unified a nation and tries to teach Americans the rules of Rugby and I think that might have been the movie's downfall.
Since the movie was so jam packed with plots and sub-plots, many are left dangling, seemingly after Eastwood realized that they had no real impact on the outcome of the movie. At one point the only black player on the rugby team injures himself, only to be forced to sit out for a game (which the team wins without him) and then be well enough to play the rest of the World Cup. I thought that maybe the team would be accused of kicking him off the squad because they were racist, but... nothing. It had no effect on the rest of the movie. At one point the secret service agents find Mandela after he had collapsed from exhaustion. The doctor insists that he rest and holds a meeting with the presidents aides to tell them that he cannot work at all, even from bed. In the next scene he's in a meeting. Maybe it was poor editing, but it was a very awkward transition and again, completely unnecessary to the outcome of the movie... at no point during the remainder of the film does anyone mention his health.
I guess Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon acted well... I'm not sure because I don't know what they should have sounded like. The majority of the supporting cast, specifically the secret service, were terrible actors.
I can't imagine that even in a world with 10 Oscar nominees for Best Picture, that Invictus would be one of them. The fact that it's directed by Clint Eastwood and that Eastwood was robbed of a nomination last year for Gran Torino may be the film's foot in the door. I never thought I'd say this about a film directed by Clint, but Invictus is a bad movie. When all is said and done, Invictus is just another inspirational sports movie. If you don't know what happened, you can still guess that the team will either win, or it will lose, but will still have been an inspiration to the entire country. That being said, go see The Blind Side. It's a better movie, probably because it probably wasn't trying to win an Oscar.
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