Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom Review

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Director: Justin Chadwick

Written by: William Nicholson

Starring: Idris Elba, Naomie Harris

Time: 139 Minutes

Release Date: 3rd January

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom has been a highly anticipated film about Nelson Mandela’s life based on his autobiography. It spans from the lawyer Nelson finding a political calling, to his more recent years after his prison release and inauguration as president of South Africa.
British power actors Idris Elba and Naomie Harris shine in the film. Although Elba’s performance was somewhat expected Harris takes over as the innocent Winnie who soon becomes the wife of a prisoner and, her progression from background female to activist and political leader in her own right is incredible. 

When a man’s life story has been so well known in the public, it is sad to see how the film makers have resorted to slight shocks and hidden secrets to add some unpredictability to the biography instead of attempting an original storytelling. Hats off for wanting to show that Mandela wasn’t perfect and that there were more layers to him which initially got him labelled as a terrorist, but is it relevant to show him as a cheating womaniser? We think not. 

Long Walk To Freedom follows the most mundane and text book way of filming a biography which draws away from the beautiful cinematography and incredible powerful performances by Elba and Harris. Numbers like 46664 and 27 years in prison which the public have heard of before, suddenly become reality as we see snippets of the 27 years unfold in front of our eyes and as Elba goes form a young hopeful freedom fighter, to an old grey haired man behind bars we can only imagine the life Mandela spent in prison. 

Part of this review has been written immediately after viewing the film before Nelson Mandela passed away and a part of it after his passing. Naturally, nothing has changed of our opinion of the movie itself but it must be noted that there is something incredibly poignant about the timing of its release. Although, I’m sure a better film will be made about Mandela’s life in the future. There is no denying that the urge to view a film of his struggles will attract audiences to the cinemas to celebrate his life.


We liked: Idris Elba and Naomie Harris, their performance as Mr and Mrs Mandela are flawless.

We didn’t like: the pacing and predictability of storytelling. 

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