Sunday, December 1, 2013

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

It’s something of an accomplishment that Idris Elba’s vocal intonations as Nelson Mandela are as listenable as Morgan Freeman’s in “Invictus” – after all, Freeman’s voice is an industry unto itself.

Elba’s the best thing about the straightforward but enjoyable and enlightening biopic “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” that opened this weekend. On offer here is a slightly richer and more complex view of Mandela than in Clint Eastwood’s film. In particular, the film traces the development of Mandela’s politics from nonviolence to selective violence and back to nonviolence just in time to bring South Africa, under his leadership, into the community of nations. Elba shows us the intelligence of Mandela - the long view of history that informed his decisions when and when not to cut deals with the white regime - and Naomie Harris as Winnie helps us to understand the rift in their decades-long marriage when she found herself unable to get past her anger and desire for revenge as easily as he.

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