Film Review: Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom

Timely biopic Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom appropriates the feel of a sumptuous historical drama without delivering the depth or emotion that this requires.

As a lawyer in South Africa of the 1940s, Nelson Mandela becomes with involved with the ANC, a political movement aimed at ending apartheid. As his involvement in the movement grows, so does his stature in South African politics…

Justin Chadwick’s Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom works well as an educational piece. It functions to inform viewers about the life of Nelson Mandela, his struggles and rise to power. It is a good introduction to Mandela as a historical figure.

The drawback of Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom is that in covering most of Mandela’s life it needs to condense a lot into the 139 minute running time. The film follows Mandela from a student to leader of South Africa. It is impossible to cover the main events as well as offer sufficient depth and context. Thus what the audience receives is the journey of Mandela without much time allocated to reasons and feelings.

Perhaps the most fascinating part of Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom is the relationship between the title character and Winnie Mandela. It is interesting to see how these two characters diverge with the increased stress and scrutiny that they are placed under. What would have been even more engrossing was if there was more of an explanation of why the two took such different paths.

Idris Elba delivers a distinguished performance as Nelson Mandela. What makes the performance more remarkable is that Elba bears little physical resemblance to the character he is playing. Naomie Harris is also convincing as Winnie. There is some great cinematography, but the score is overbearing at times.

Although Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom ticks the biopic box adequately, it does not quite cover the complexity of the life of Nelson Mandela.

Stuff To Look At

A profusion of film-related goodness, including clips from Runner Runner and The Counsellor, trailers for Saving Mr Banks and The Monuments Men, and Loki…

Runner Runner

New Batman Ben Affleck shows a dark side in the above clip from upcoming crime thriller Runner Runner. This is why crocodiles are a bad idea generally. Runner Runner hits UK screens on 27th September 2013.

Nebraska

Nebraska is director Alexander Payne’s latest. Starring Bruce Dern and Will Forte, Nebraska is a father and son road movie. The film is being screened at the BFI London Film Festival in October and is on general release from 6th December 2013.

The Railway Man

Here is the trailer for period drama The Railway Man. Starring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman, the film is based on Eric Lomax’s memoirs. The Railway Man is released in the UK on 3rd January 2013.

We Are What We Are

We Are What We Are is a remake of the 2010 Mexican film of the same name. It has one of those settings that feel disconcerting. We Are What We Are is out in cinemas on 25th October 2013.

The Monuments Men

The Monuments Men reunites George Clooney and Matt Damon as members of a World War II platoon tasked with rescuing masterpieces from Nazi thieves. The film also stars Bill Murray and Cate Blanchett. The Monuments Men is due for release on 9th January 2014.

Thor The Dark World

Thor The Dark World Loki

Loki! Let’s just be honest; he is the real reason everyone wants to see Thor The Dark World. That look on Loki’s face – so determined. Sequel Thor The Dark World is released in UK cinemas on 30th October 2013.

The Counsellor

The hair in the above clip is something else. In fact, Javier Bardem’s whole look is something else. With an all-star cast including Michael Fassbender, Cameron Diaz and Brad Pitt, The Counsellor hits UK screens on 15th November 2013.

Ender’s Game

Ender’s Game is based on the best-selling novel of the same name. Starring Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley, the film is set in a dystopian future. Ender’s Game is released on 25th October 2013 and there’s a trip to NASA to be won here.

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

The sequel everyone has been waiting for! Above is San Diego’s finest newsman Ron Burgundy delivering the news on the Goodwood revival. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues hits UK screens on 20th December 2013. What a Christmas treat.

Saving Mr Banks

Here is the first trailer for Saving Mr Banks. The film tells the story of how Walt Disney brought Mary Poppins to the big screen. Saving Mr Banks is closing the London Film Festival on 20th October 2013 and is out on general release on 29th November 2013.

RoboCop

Nothing is going to match the perfection of the director’s cut of 1987’s  RoboCop. Nothing. However this new version features Michael Keaton, so it gets plus points for this alone. RoboCop is due for release on 7th February 2014.

Mandela Long Walk To Freedom

Idris Elba and Naomie Harris star in biopic Mandela Long Walk To Freedom. The film is released on 3rd January 2013; ripe for awards season. Let’s see how it fares.

Stuff To Look At

Plenty of film-related goodness this week, with the new Frozen poster, trailers for Seventh Son and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and more…

Frozen

Frozen poster

Here is the new Frozen poster, Disney’s upcoming animated feature. It really does not give too much away. Frozen centres on Anna, who sets off on an epic journey to find her sister. Frozen is set for release in the UK on 6th December 2013.

Seventh Son

From the first few seconds of this trailer, I could tell that I’m going to love Julianne Moore’s character in this film. Seventh Son is a fantasy action about a war between mankind and supernatural forces. The film is set for release in February 2014.

Mr Peabody & Sherman

Mr Peabody & Sherman poster

There’s an upcoming film featuring a talking dog and I wasn’t aware? Sacre bleu! Mr Peabody & Sherman is a comedy adventure about a dog and his ‘pet’ boy. This alone makes it a must-see film. Mr Peabody & Sherman is due to be released in 2014.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

The Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire is being released later this year. The trailer promises more brutality. The film follows on from the events of the first instalment. The final part is surely not too far away. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire will be released in UK cinemas on 21st November 2013.

Saving Mr Banks

Saving Mr Banks poster

Who is Mr Banks and why does he need to be saved? Well this poster does not reveal this, although I love the shadows cast in it. Saving Mr Banks tells the story of how Mary Poppins made it to the screen. Starring Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson, Saving Mr Banks is due for release later this year.

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom

Celebrating his 95th birthday last week, it seems apt that a biopic is soon due for release. Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom stars Idris Elba as Nelson Mandela and Naomie Harris as his wife Winnie. The film will be released in UK cinemas on 3rd January 2014.

Filth

Here is the latest trailer for Filth, which promises to be so much ruder than the trailer will allow. Based on Irvine Welsh’s novel, Filth is released in Scotland on 27th September and the rest of the UK on 4th October 2013.