A long slog of a movie that insists on hitting the high spots like a Wiki page, which leaves little room to investigate the political and personal changes that altered Mandela's thoughts about violence and its uses.
The title pretty much sums it up: a walk with Nelson from rural boyhood to his election as South Africa's first democratically-elected president. Much of the journey is taken up with his early fight against apartheid and the subsequent 22 years in jail. To anyone who hasn't read the autobiography on which the film is based, this will provide interesting details about his personal life and political struggles. Although Idris Elba (Mandela) and Naomie Harris (his wife Winnie) both create rich characters and the narrative is compelling, the whole thing lacks emotional power. The prison years are the most absorbing. It should take 2+ hours to chronicle a great man's life, but it feels too long and sometimes too simplistic. Still, an informative history lesson.
This movie was poorly acted at times. Idris Elba was good however, everyone else was not as good. The movie was also longer than it should've been. The movie is around two hours and twenty minutes, but it should've only been about one hour and fifty five minutes. In other words, it was really boring for the most part.
Mandela: A Long Walk to Freedom tells of the lengthy path toward ending apartheid and the racial war in South Africa
The title of the Nelson Mandela biopic is befitting of the arduous task faced by Mr. Mandela. Mandela: A Long Walk to Freedom tells of the lengthy path toward ending apartheid and the racial war in South Africa spanning some seventy years from childhood to inauguration.
Most people know Nelson Mandela as he was portrayed by the media later in life; the seemingly soft spoken man who emerged from prison, endearingly called Madiba by his people. The Nelson Mandela portrayed by Idris Elba in Mandela: A Long Walk to Freedom is a far more complex person, realistic and humanistic. Idris Elba does a commendable job at portraying Mandela though I found his accent to be a bit distracting. The acting is sublime by Naomie Harris who plays Winnie, Mandela’s second wife and I am disheartened that she was not formally recognized with a nomination for best supporting actress. There is something about the movie that feels slightly disconnected, as though character development was missing. I believe the issue with character development arises out of the inability to properly convey the urgency in needing change in South Africa. South Africa’s desperation and growth from apartheid is just as important as a character, and being a story about Nelson Mandela, the plot’s focus is lacking clarity. The story spans from Mandela’s childhood to inauguration, some seven decades, and in the process feels a bit slow moving, a highlight reel of sorts.
It is a difficult task but marvelous attempt leaving the viewer with a good drama that feels like a historical documentary. In the end you feel as though you know Nelson Mandela but only part of the story of South Africa.
More reviews of recent releases at our website!
It feels like the film builds to a climax that never arrives. The film does feature two great performances from Elba and Harris, the depictions of the race war and racism in South Africa is well handled, especially how out of control things got around the time of Mandela's release. There are some scenes which are great unto themselves such as Mandela's trial, several scenes during Mandela's time on Robben Island, Mandela greeting the people as the first black president as he is respectfully saluted by his white staff members and so forth. The final scene in particular had some great soul to it, and Elba's perfectly delivered monologue of one of Mandela's most famous quotes was very moving.
Having said that, the film suffers from the problem of trying to cram too much detail and information about Mandela's story in South Africa into a two hour film, and, as a result, several scenes which could have built up to something poignant or could have been fleshed out are quickly glossed over. These scenes include but are not limited to the Sharpeville Massacre and the resulting wave of protest and oppression, Mandela's trial itself, his imprisonment on Robben Island, and the final stages from his release to his ascendancy to presidency.
As a result, the film feels like there's a lot of plot to it, but not a lot of story, as if the film is running by a tick box list. "Oh, we did Sharpeville, good, let's move on. Oh, we did Mandela's trial, okay let's move on". No one moment is really given any real chance to shine, it feels like there's no real substance or consequence to them in terms of the characters and situation on screen. As a result, the final climax Mandela ascending to presidency when it comes, doesn't carry the emotional punch that it should.
Despite these problems, I would still recommend that people would watch this film at least once.
A movie that is meant to tell a powerful message and show us a part of Africas history but fails miserably. There are so many interesting concepts that could show us what their lives were really like. Sadly, the film is riddled with pacing issues, boring cinematography, and uninspired writing. It felt like this movie was more interested in simply showing us series of events instead of telling us an inspiring story about the life of Nelson Mandela. It is so bad that I not only find it offensive to well directed movies trying to make a difference, but is also disrespectful to the legacy of Mandela.
Film Afrika Worldwide,
Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa,
Long Walk to Freedom,
National Empowerment Fund,