Sound Off: Clint Eastwood's Invictus - What Did You Think?
by Alex Billington
December 11, 2009
Now that you've seen it, what did you think? Actor-turned-director Clint Eastwood is back with his newest film since Gran Torino last year titled Invictus starring Morgan Freeman as former South African President Nelson Mandela and Matt Damon as rugby player Francois Pienaar. But how does it compare to Eastwood's last few films? Is it even entertaining to watch or is it just plain boring? Are the performances Oscar worthy or just mediocre? Is the story riveting and inspiring or just lackluster and void of heart? If you've seen it already, then sound off, leave a comment, and let us know what you thought of Invictus!
To fuel the fire, I actually really loved Invictus a lot. I'm a sucker for inspirational movies that are about prominent historical figures and this definitely fit the bill. I found myself wrapped up in the story and the characters very quickly and was fascinated by how it all played out. Clint Eastwood is still a great director and has a few issues with pacing, but this time he did a wonderful job presenting the fact-based story as is and giving us just enough of Nelson Mandela to be inspired. Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman did a great job and both deserve awards consideration. I only had a few small complaints but overall really enjoyed it.
What did you think of Invictus? A boring sports drama or brilliant and inspirational biopic?
Reader Feedback - 49 Comments
One of the year's best films.
Petoria on Dec 11, 2009
Great story, great film. As a rugby player, I'm thrilled that this will be the way many Americans are introduced to the game.
Dave TN on Dec 11, 2009
What about a Sound Off for The Princess and the Frog? I'd think that movie has been publicized well enough to be worthy of a Sound Off page.
James on Dec 11, 2009
Love your Web site...but was just wondering if these sound off entries aren't more appropriate for Monday mornings. Feel like people are more likely to share their opinions when they're at work on Mondays rather than when they're out and about on the weekends seeing films and just enjoying themselves. Keep up the great work guys.
Greg on Dec 11, 2009
This idea that South Africa is some sort of rainbow nation now is a farce. Adriana Stuijt reports that by 2008, more than 800,000 of the 3 million Afrikaaner minority were reported homeless.....living in shacks, caravans, and in more than 120 squatter camps and at religious missions. Many Afrikaaners are now denied jobs because they are not black. Since 1994, there has been tens of thousands of cases of well organised, armed gangs of young black men attacking Afrikaaners. These attacks include gang-rapes, racial and ethnic slurs, the removal of sexual organs, finally followed by an execution-style murder. One particular case involved the torture and murder of Alice Lotter,77 and her daughter Helen, 57. They were first tortured by being stabbed with broken glass bottles into their vaginas. Then one had her breast cut off while she was still alive. Both women were finally killed by strangulation. The black killers then used the victims blood to write "Kill the Boer, Kill the Farmer" on the walls of the home. When is Hollywood going to show this ongoing genocide of the Afrikaaner Germanic people? Matt Damon claims to care about human rights. I guess that only applies to certain types of people.
Phil on Dec 11, 2009
Underwhelming Oscar bait from the Academy's biggest fanboy, ol' Clint, who cannot make a film without some kind of social/political/racial message. Time to retire, old man. A Serious Man for 2009's Best Picture.
Shane on Dec 11, 2009
I thought the movie was wonderful. Inspirational and well directed. I saw the early showing of it this morning and not really fully understanding rugby, I felt I got a good grip on the sport. The coaching clinic in the movie, somewhat help me understand the rules of the game. I am a soccer fan really, and the quote, "soccer is a gentleman's sport played by hooligans and rugby is a hooligan's sport played by gentleman" stuck in my mind. But what really drew me to the movie was the poem Invictus by William Ernest Henley... Great Poem, very inspiring. Morgan Freeman made me forget he was an actor, he did a awesome job as Mandela but hey, its not his first time playing a South African ala Power of One. I think Morgan should get at least nominated but i dnt know if it was good enough for a win. I was captivated by it.. showing the transition of a country from apartheid to equality and the humanity or comrodery of sports to bring forth unity was inspiring.
Nosa on Dec 11, 2009
I really enjoyed Invictus. While not at the level of Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, or Letters From Iwo Jima, Invictus was a fine film. I found Invictus to be enjoyable and educational.
Allan on Dec 11, 2009
Question: How many indigenous people of South Africa are currently homeless now? How many Indigenous people of South Africa have been killed during apartheid or even after apartheid or maybe even now? Like your point is full of holes, i agree with you, murder, rape, pillaging, displacement and/or genocide is barbaric and inhumane. But the table have not completely turned. The minority Afrikaaners still hold majority of the wealth in South Africa. It is sad what happen to those families and woman but it is nothing new, under sun of South Africa. I am not going to even say its poetic justice, its not fair, its right but the Afrikaaners have done far more to indigenous people of South Africa in a century then what has been this last decade. I bet you if i got to a shantytown in South Africa, the demographics would be the same; poor black South African people! maybe just maybe a sprinkle of Afrikaaners. Like those Afrikaaners being displaced are landowners that may have had legitimate right to the land but I doubt it. It was never theirs to begin with. There great grandfather before them probably stole it or conquered it or eminent domain. Do they deserve to die over it, probably not. All in all, its a Hollywood movie. Not all the truths are going to come out. Even in America, people are being displaced or killed because of race, religion, economic status. Matt Damon aint Jesus and neither is Nelson Mandela, people are still upset, angry and frustrated by past oppressions. Those who are already malicious in nature be them Afrikaaner or Black South Africans are going to display that type evil nature. That is not going to change overnite. But comment over here about the oppression or genocide of Afrikaaner Germanic people for the last decade, there not fully oppressed. Hollywood recognize a full onslaught of oppression and genocide. More people will have to die for the cause for it to be mediated. How bout you do you part. Maybe a documentary, lets forget about what Matt Damon and worry about what you can do. you've started already by expressing you opinion which is good but now what else can you do? Did you even see the movie? Like why watch if you harbor such feelings? Why comment on a sound off and you haven't watched it? i hoped u watched and just maybe you'll produce or direct your vision or take on it.
Phil Cmon! on Dec 11, 2009
Just back from seeing "Invictus"... there were two separate Rugby clubs taking up several rows of the theatre. They were so loud at first then chilled down to a quiet roar. Anyway, I was hoping the film woudl have more been more about the "real" South Africa. The truth (per Phil's comments) This was a very light film, yet, maybe it is okay. Maybe this film will get people thinking beyond our borders. I like what Phil wrote ...
Mary on Dec 11, 2009
My staff and I watched it last night and none of us liked it - I thought it was as bad as Gran Torino and for all the same reasons. He gets great performances from his lead actors but everyone else - well they're just embarrassing. I lost count of how many times some of the minor characters were looking at the camera. By the end of the film it was just a big joke for us full of all-too-odd moments and that horribly long slo-mo bit at the end. In fact, just about everything was dragged out like he (Eastwood) felt he had to beat you over the head to get the point (one example: the black boy and the white cops at the end he kept cutting back to for the duration of the final game). The musical montages were another embarrassment and the relationships between the blacks and the whites was nothing surprising and unfortunately it all boiled down to charicatures. It's a shame that Morgan Freeman, in a role he was born to play, ended up in this lackluster film. Of course audiences here today are just eating it up because it's Clint (and Morgan and Matt) just like they ate up Gran Torino and all it's faults. I like Clint Eastwood but I fear he's losing his directorial touch.
Mat on Dec 11, 2009
"Clint, who cannot make a film without some kind of social/political/racial message" So? what's wrong with a film with some kind of social/political/racial message? I love how conservatives suck so obviously and out in the open. I'm suprised #6 didn't try to throw something in about all of Bush's policies being Obama's fault.
tyrascilee on Dec 11, 2009
>>I thought it was as bad as Gran Torino Lol! Gran Torino's a frickin' masterpiece so basically you're one clueless tool, Mat.
Verity on Dec 12, 2009
Verity, could not say it better myself. God Bless you!!!
James on Dec 12, 2009
@#5 Phil you are a idiot once again, if you talking about Afrikaaner Germanic people been killed what about all the black african people who been killed too by white people. i seen all your comments before bashing Thor movie cause they cast a black man and a asian man in the movie. now you attacking this movie i think you need to shut the fuck up Phil.
tony on Dec 12, 2009
#5 phil you are a racist every film that has black actors involved in the movie you get racial all the f-ing time. i remember on "Idris Elba Joins the Cast of Kenneth Branagh's Thor as Heimdall" thread you said that same type of b.s. now you still complaining about this movie f off you racist backward idiot if you dont like the movie dont watch it. this is a movie site about what film fans think about the movie. get the hell out of here and grow up.
blaze on Dec 12, 2009
Alex, recently (the last 4-5 months) i've read about six of your articles and thought "what are you smoking?" Your opinion yes but seriously Eastwood has a problem with pacing??
d1rEct on Dec 12, 2009
#12 Why would you assume I'm a conservative? I'm just simply sick of Clint making nothing but politically/racially/socially charged films. Why? Because it's obvious those are the kinds of movies the Academy eats up. It's getting tiresome. Year after year it's the movies that are powered solely by the characters, story and performances that resonate with me most, not any of this kind of schlock. "A work of art has no importance whatever to society. It is only important to the individual." - Vladimir Nabokov
Shane on Dec 12, 2009
@number 5, You are polarizing a bit, but I understand your point of view. I have been there and had also the impression that the black people are taking kind of a "revenge". they haven't learned from the past...
pipo on Dec 12, 2009
why talk about racism and former and and present presidents in comments about a movie. COME ON its a movie
samuel j on Dec 12, 2009
#5 go to bed little boy. #18 what you man they havent learned from the past. you call it the past but its still going on right now racist white african people has a stronge hold in africa.
JD on Dec 12, 2009
Who are these people who disliked Gran Turino? Are you kidding me? That movie was excellent. Clint grounds his movies like few others can, and is commanding in a leading role like that. Haven't seen Invictus yet so I should probably keep my nose out of this for now 🙂
Mark D on Dec 12, 2009
I saw the movie last night with my father. He had a rather unique perspective of having lived in South Africa for about six months back in the mid 1980's when aparteid was still in full force. WE both thought the movie amazing. The acting was phenomenal, but what can you expect from Morgan Freeman, and Matt Damon was a revelation. I thought Mr. Eastwood did a beautiful job with the story and the cinematographyand his use of the film score was awesome. The use of the poem Invictus was inspired. It is my fathers favorite poem. He's had a copy of it (given by me for his birthday) on his bedroom wall for about 40 years and me could both still recite 3/4s of it. My only minor quibble with the film was in my opinion, the dialects were a bit overwhelming and i had a hard time understanding some of the dialogue. As for the above comments of people using the movie to politicize a point of view: IT'S A MOVIE, PEOPLE!. detailing a not so distant past where a race of people had been subjugated. Yes, it still goes on in the world today. Is the world perfect: NOT HARDLY. Will attitudes of people change: PROBABLY NOT. Is this movie trying to change attitudes: MAYBE. Just enjoy the movie or not, that is all anyone can do. and maybe try to be a little nicer and a little more tolerant of other people. That's all anyone of use can do.
Sandy on Dec 12, 2009
Alot of coments i agree with 5# Nelson mandela is made out to be this savior of the African nation and years after he was presidant things never changed there still is the shanti towns witch are just shit holes, but back to the film invictus i have not seen it but i am a big Clint Eastwood fan, but i still don't no about this film weather it would apeal to me shall read a few more reviews first. 😉
Cineprog on Dec 12, 2009
This film represents a great story. Every film attempts to tell a great story, even if there's another message within. I personally want a great story when I go see a film. I think it would be silly to think a film about Nelson Mandela, including Mr. Mandela's actual words, would not have his message within it. Solid film.
Quanah on Dec 12, 2009
Haven't seen the film yet, but I'd like a review from firstshowing every once in a while...
Tom Dearsley on Dec 12, 2009
#18 You are a conservative though, right? Non-conservatives generally don't make a point to memorize isolated horror stories about black-on-white violence In South Africa to repeat in graphic detail in response to a film that deals, in part, with apartheid. I wouldn't say #12 was ASSUMING you were a conservative. They were INFERRING it on the basis of your post. Of course, that's not 100% reliable. And neither is any evidence you're going to encounter in a court of law either. So, how about you drop the BS I'm-a-victim outrage for once, ok Conservative?
Petoria on Dec 12, 2009
I am still undecided on whether or not I liked it. From a historical point of view, I liked it. This story and the 2 main characters are great. As a film though and Clints direction, I did not like it. If this film was done by a no name director, people would have balked at the direction. It was not well paced and there was just something off with it. The rugby matches themselves were too random without any real suspense. I dont know...I like Clint's previous work but just didnt feel like he really executed a masterpiece here. Not a favorite of mine.
Spark on Dec 12, 2009
@#26 Tom Dearsley I wish Firstshowing.net had more reviews as well. Alex, Brandon, can you consider this a poll? 😉
Quanah on Dec 12, 2009
Gran Torino was a fine film, even if some of the supporting characters were not experienced actors. Clint was excellent. Gran Torino got very good reviews and hauled in the big bucks. Not bad for a low budget film. I think Invictus will do better at the overseas box offcie than in North America. Invictus will probably still get some Golden Globe and Oscar nominations.
Allan on Dec 12, 2009
#5, ha ha ha. That's pretty funny.
notes on Dec 12, 2009
I suggest to #6 that he watch all of Eastwood's films; those he directed and those he acted in right back to his earliest westerns. If you did that you would soon realise that they all contain some kind of "social/political/racial message" as you call it. "Time to retire old man" you say. No #6, it's you who should retire from asshole remarks. What a sad fucking life you must lead if you have to make moronic statements just to be heard.
Hattori Hanzo on Dec 12, 2009
#13: If Gran Torino is a "frickin masterpiece" then then my morning bowel movement would like to thank the members of the Academy... But thanks, I've never been called a clueless tool before 🙂 I'd suggest that the next time you watch Gran Torino maybe take your head out of Clint Eastwood's crotch and you'll see what I'm talking about.
Mat on Dec 12, 2009
he really needs to get back to basics, Where's the quality that Unforgiven, Mystic River, Changling Letters From Iwo Jima, Flags of Our Fathers, and Million Dollar Baby had? Gran Torino was his worst and Invctius while a good watch is found empty in certain areas, Eastwood is a good director who is running on empty right now.
Xerxex on Dec 12, 2009
Does anyone know if Spike Lee has seen the film. Is Spike complaining that their aren't enough black actors in this movie?
dee on Dec 12, 2009
I liked it. I didn't love it, just liked it. All the acting was solid, but Clint Eastwood played it safe when it came to his direction. I felt that it was predictable, but captivating enough to keep me interested. I have a feeling it will be up for some Oscars, it was just one of "those" movies.
David on Dec 12, 2009
Xerxex on Dec 12, 2009
#13 "Lol! Gran Torino's a frickin' masterpiece so basically you're one clueless tool" have you lost your mind Gran Torino is not a masterpiece. a white boy acting like his a gangsta, young asian girl got raped by her cousin and his gang, Clint Eastwood bad singing.
d-man on Dec 13, 2009
What do you mean by complaining that all of his movies have kind of social/political/racial message? Of course they do and of course those are the movies that the Academy eats up. When your movie lacks any of these, then its rarely a movie anyone actually wants to see. Think of one movie that doesn't at least have a SOCIAL message. Dare ya.
Steph on Dec 13, 2009
quanah on Dec 13, 2009
Phil (comment #5), I'm a white South African and I can assure you that what you think is happening in South Africa is complete rubbish. I was born here and have lived all over the world, but SA is and always will be home. I'm proud to be a Southy African everyday of my life and I can assure you that the so called genocide that you refer to is a myth. I live, work and socialise with Afrikaaners, Zulu's, Sotho, Xhosa's and have never once encountered the racist attitude you say is so prevalant. We have a constitution that enshrines human rights, we have a government that is fighting (and winning) the war against crime in the county - please note that I am not a supporter of the current government, but can see what they are doing right - and we have a country full of people with a lot to offer each other and the world.
Justin on Dec 14, 2009
I found the film to be well executed, with great direction and beautiful cinematography. The rugby scenes were well shot, and the audience need not know the rules of the sport to understand the action of it. Scenes were cast in the appropriate amount of light, especially for an Eastwood film, who loves to drench his scenes in darkness (appropriately so). The actors portrayal was good, as well as their dialects consistent. The race issue was played off well, and starting from the first shot of Mandela being released and driving through the street between the white rugby players and the black children playing football who were both behind fences, the director made it clear that this was a pivotal plot point in the story. That being said, I found the dialects hard to understand at points, but overall found the script lagging. The overall theme of glory for country was overstated too many times by Mandela, and the film became slow and dragged to the end. There were a few tongue-in-cheek lines, but the conviction of the characters was not as strong as the script tried to make them sound, and the audience lost contact with the idea that these characters believed what they were saying. I believe this is in no way the actor's fault, but the writer's for trying to impress upon the audience the importance of patriotism in a divided country. The script gave no specific examples of why this needed to be done, but rather stated way too many times only that it was the main objective, through a few smarmy and over-dramatic lines.
Alex Martin on Dec 14, 2009
I believe Clint Eastwood is making wonderful, inspiring statements as he ages. He gets better like a fine wine. He want to impart to the world a sense of what we could be. Yes, I found Invictus, at times, slow. But the overall message of forgiveness and redemption captivated me. I came out thinking about forgiveness in my life and I think that is what Director Eastwood wanted. Bravo.
Flossie Chapman on Dec 17, 2009
I am South African, living in Canada now, not by choice. Invictus captured the mood of my country impeccably. My family and I cried through most of the movie. Probably MOST Americans or North Americans don't understand Rugby, but trust me, it is a MAN"S game and was captured beautifully, we were at that Rugby game in 1995, and the spirit of the crowd was electric, magic, and the Boeing DID really fly THAT low over the stadium. It was a day that we thought could never have been repeated, but with Clint Eastwoods direction in Invictus, it was, in all its magical glory. BRAVO.
Pat Currin on Dec 22, 2009
Can't wait to see this film! Not so sure about Matt Damon pulling off a South African accent though... either way Invictus also has a really cool facebook fan page, if you're a fan of the movie! http://www.facebook.com/search/?q=invictus&init=quick#/invictus?v=wall&ref=search
Andrew Alexander on Dec 23, 2009
i was disapointed in dis film. If it wanted to show the power that sport has to unite a nation or somethn like that, i think it failed....the film showed nothn what it meant to the colored people brown people of south africa...i am colored and a big rugby fan, springbok n blue bull supporter and played rugby most of my years....i culdnt see coloreds in the stadium shots....nothn about the boland workshops or cape flats....even chester, if ur nt south african, would seem black and a hero for the blacks....that is a bitter pill to swallow...now pls these r not racist remarks.....also i hoped they wud use the quality shooting holywood use to sell their american football....this was on par with a hansie south african muvi.....and please morgan freeman struggled with mandelas accent.....sounded like acting......i liked mat daons effort to sound like pienaar......
simon on Dec 24, 2009
Bla bla bla... Im reading all your comments on racism and thinking.... you know, Im a girl living in South Africa (and Im NOT a racist).....but I can tell you one thing, Im so scared of some of these barbaric black people thats out there raping, murdering and torturing innocent people (Black and white). Not a night goes by without the police helicopter flying over my house looking for these murderers. You can probably blame it on apartheid, name it what you will, I just think these people will never change. If your bad, your bad, and no matter what...it will never change their evil hearts. Look around you and see that some of your good black-brothers have moved on and focused on the good in life.
Karin on Jan 22, 2010
Boring... I know it maybe a masterpiece and all but I found it so boring.
Not Telling on Aug 1, 2010
Bored me almost to death.
Lisalolela on Oct 29, 2011
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