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5 live review: Invictus

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Mark Kermode | 10:39 UK time, Tuesday, 9 February 2010

5 live's resident movie critic Dr Mark Kermode reviews Invictus.
Go to Mark on 5 Live for more reviews and film debate.

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  • Comment number 1.

    Great rugby movies - what about This Sporting Life? Great Academy Award nominated performance from Richard Harris.

    Surely Up 'n Under is hardly the first rugby movie which springs to mind! Its the Janus effect!

  • Comment number 2.

    Glad Mark has given Invictus the Movie the praise it deserves, most people have been unduly harsh and defintely msised the subtlety Freeman brings to his role.
    As for great sport movies, i love the way Invictus filmed the rugby, could have cliched but i really enjoyed the perspective from ground level yet not giving either team overall perspective.
    Overall, well filmed, well acted and heartwarming!

  • Comment number 3.

    Also just occured to me my other favorite filmic representation of rugby in Monty Python, where the teachers beat the holy hell out of their students, going out of their way to bosh and beat their students and ran all over them!
    Found this link abotu rugby movies for whom is interested.

  • Comment number 4.

    Charles Lee is right. This Sporting Life was a great British film of the 60s, and about a lot more than rugby too – even if it won’t be shown on TV nowadays because it’s in black and white.

    The only other rugby movie worth mentioning is Aldrich’s Mean Machine (Longest Yard). OK, the yanks have to wear padding and have a lot more breaks, but essentially its rugby league.

    PS. Invictus is Latin for ‘unconquered’; that could also have been a clue Dr K about how the movie might end.

  • Comment number 5.

    Pedant's Corner - 'This Sporting Life' and 'Up 'n' Under' were about Rugby League, whilst this is about Rugby Union.

    I wonder how much Mark actually cares about that...

    Steve W

  • Comment number 6.

    im just glad no one has mentioned "Forever Strong" - an absolutely ghastly film.

    cant wait to see Invictus though

  • Comment number 7.

    at the begining of 'the departed' matt damon is playing rugby union

  • Comment number 8.

    Loved it. My favourite film of the year so far (okay, that's out of only nine cinema visits so far) and I'm not, by any stretch, a sports fan. And pleasantly surprised by Matt Damon.

  • Comment number 9.

    I really liked this, perhaps because it thinks both rugby football and Nelson Mandela are very good things and so do I. Here's my problem with it, though. There's the All Blacks fly-half, Andrew Mehrtens, played by (I presume) a club rugby player from SA, because he had nothing to say. Mehrtens won 70-odd caps for the All Blacks, was a brilliant kicker, and a very fine number 10. Why then is he played by someone who weighs 8 stone wringing wet, and why does he fail to make his restart kicks travel 10 metres? That matters in a rugby match. Not in this one. Towering crane-shot for the start of the second half, millions of extras filling the stadium, Mehrtens lines up his kick... and there's this limp dribble that flops to ground about three metres in front of him, that no-one on the pitch or in the stadium or behind the camera seems to notice. Is it only me?

  • Comment number 10.

    I normally agree with the good doctors reviews, but my God Invictus was rubbish.

    Morgan Freeman did Morgan |Freeman with an occasional Mandela accent.As Chris mentioned the rugby was attrocious.

    The only good part was Matt Damon. He was excellent as Pienaar.

  • Comment number 11.

    Saw Invictus last Saturday with my Dad, who's a big rugby fan. I enjoyed it, but thought it was a film of three parts.

    The first 40 minutes or so were basically Morgan Freeman (who I think is pretty convincing) doing a lot of 'worthy' speeches about principles and high ideals - the kind of speeches which will be shown on the trailers for the Oscar nominations and then forgotten. The middle third, where the team are training and going out into the prison and slums, is terrific, with images saying more about reconciliation and self-belief than any of the speeches beforehand. Damon is great as Pienaar. THe rugby itself is well shot, but in the last 20 minutes the film became too saccharrine (sp.); Eastwood does a better job than Oliver Stone in Any Given Sunday, but he still can't resist shooting the end of the match in slow-motion or having a montage of people celebrating.

    Overall, 3.5 out of 5 stars. Keep up the good work Mark

  • Comment number 12.

    While I don't think this is a great film, it's not a bad film either. I just have one major problem with it. Why are two Americans playing the major characters?

    This film is about the rise of South Africa from it's dark times, it's development as a country and South African achievment. Could they really not find two actors from South Africa to star in this film? Could they not take the possetive message of this film about South Africa to heart when they were making this film?

    Putting two big hollywood names in the central roles just shows the studio didn't give a crap about this films message, it's just another money maker.

  • Comment number 13.

    I like the way the game was shot. In my opinion the director did it very masterfully. My congratulations! I like sport games a lot. I always check for the games.

  • Comment number 14.

    Good rugby movies. Why are two Americans playing the major characters? Morgen Freeman is the best actor i think so. [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]


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