Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom – **

Posted: February 5, 2015 in biopic, Drama, Historical, Political, South Africa, UK, XX

A Long Walk To Freedom is a must for anyone visiting or having visited South Africa. The locals love this recent biopic about Nelson Mandela and will recommend it as if it’s the only movie ever made in their country. The press over here wasn’t so impressed and it didn’t really do anything during last year’s award season. But still, it’s quite popular in its homeland and definitely a must.

Unfortunately it’s not such a good movie. It’s an ordinary biopic that feels more like a Winnie & Nelson love story than a portrait of a political activist and leader. The problem is that the movie just covers too much information. It is great as an introduction to the man who was imprisoned for 27 years after being arrested for being a terrorist and then leading the country after his release. But it doesn’t really focus on anything in particular, apart from the relationship between Nelson and his second wife Winnie.

What’s good about the movie is that it really doesn’t depict Nelson Mandela as a saint. The guy was a bit of an ego tripper and a disrespectful husband to his first wife. He did call for violence before he was arrested. It’s only as president of the entire nation that he became the icon everyone adores. So that’s great. Another key element of making this movie watchable is the performance of Idris Elba, who doesn’t look anything like Mandela, but who has you glued to the screen anyways. He’s so much Idris Elba playing Mandela though that you are more interested in learning about Idris Elba than Mandela. Which couldn’t have been the objective of the director.

All in all, it’s okay. But let’s hope there will be good movies in the future focussing on just ONE period of Nelson’s life. And let’s hope they’ll use a less attractive actor playing the main part.

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