"Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul."
That is the poem 'Invictus' by William Ernest Henley, which inspired Nelson Mandela to keep going after being imprisoned for 27 years. A lovely poem that does inspire, sadly a little more than the film it is named after.
Clint Eastwood directs the story of newly appointed President Mandela, trying to unite the black and white South Africans through the game of rugby, with respect if not restraint for the sentimental.
Morgan Freeman does a good job, but never really does more than give a good impression, instead the actor brings his usual gravitas to the performance, which is enough to create the emotional impact needed.
Matt Damon is not given a lot to do, but his accent is good.
The most interesting part of the story is the relationship between the black and white security guards, which should have been explored a little more as it was an interesting look at a country facing a new era.
This was a strong effort for Eastwood, but still have nothing new to say, and did not explore the complexities of the post Apartheid era enough to resonate.
Grade - B-