(2009/Warner Blu-ray w/DVD)
B/C Sound: B/B- Extras: C+ Film: B
directors have so much to show and are so great that they have underrated
periods where they make several strong films and they become films that do not
get the critical or commercial success they should. When they are survivors like Clint Eastwood,
quality work becomes so expected that some amazing work can be missed. After Changeling
(one of his most underrated films he ever directed) and Gran Torino (which may be his last acting performance) arrived in
2008, he finally got to make his Nelson Mandela film and Invictus (2009) also turned out to be even better than you might
Freeman is Mandela, just becoming President of South Africa after spending
decades as a political prisoner of a country built on Apartheid. Freeman makes you forget he is an actor and
embodies the role remarkably well. In an
attempt to bring his country back together, he turns to rugby as a sport that
could unite the country if the team can get its act together and win. In this, he turns to it’s Captain, Francois
Pienaar (Matt Damon) to help him make a world championship happen.
Peckham’s screenplay (based on the John Carlin book Playing The Enemy) is a
character study of the people and the nation, as well as of the lasting damage
of racism and hate in a culture built so much on it. Of course, there is still much violence in
the country with old wounds still very much an issue for all involved, but this
film tries to show a direction of unity and progress Mandela tried to bring in
order to save the country. Had he not,
things would even be worse now. No
matter what the future brings, Invictus
shows us a great nation battling its divide and that its problems and issues
are shared by all nations big and small.
It is one of 2009’s best films.
2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on the Blu-ray was shot by Director of
Photography Tom Stern, who has been working with Eastwood for years now and
this once again looks good (especially being shot in real anamorphic 35mm
Panavision), but intentional styling choices hold back the detail a little bit
throughout, but we get a very solid image otherwise all the way. I just liked the 35mm print I saw a little more. The anamorphically enhanced DVD is much
weaker, basic and is challenged in detail and depth, as well as having
micro-staircasing and even a little touch of breakup.
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 mix is dialogue based, but well recorded, features
a score by Kyle Eastwood and Michael Stevens (Gran Torino) and has a subtly good soundfield throughout. The Dolby Digital 5.1 on the DVD is weaker,
but not bad for that older codec.
include Digital Copy for PC and PC portable devices, a music trailer for the CD
soundtrack, Matt Damon Play Rugby
featurette, plus the Blu-ray exclusives include two more featurettes (Mandela Meets Morgan and The Eastwood Factor) and BD Live
interactive features no DVD can do.
- Nicholas Sheffo