Movie Reviews

‘Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom’: The Idris Elba Show

By Wang DexianMovies - 27 March 2014 12:00 AM | Updated 10:08 AM

‘Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom’: The Idris Elba Show

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom (2014)

Our Rating

3/5 Stars

As the title would indicate, this film from director Justin Chadwick chronicles the late South African president Nelson Mandela's long hard-fought battle to end apartheid and white-and-black segregation in his country, which would become an armed struggle not just for him and his comrades in the African National Congress (ANC) but every person in South Africa too.

British actor Idris Elba plays Mandela, with Naomie Harris playing Winnie, his wife who is embroiled in his political struggles. She becomes just as much of a rallying figure for South Africans as her husband.

This tumultuous period sees the leader facing numerous arrests and his 27-year prison spell. However, we also get to see Elba play Mandela as a much younger man, witnessing the pivotal events in his life.

Still, the script feels fairly unremarkable and nondescript.

For those familiar with Mandela's story, the linear nature of the narrative doesn't really spring any surprises. 

If you've never heard of this icon though, the movie is a good summary and alternative to reading Wikipedia.

The other problem is that the amount of material covered is too big and ambitious for its own good. It feels as if viewers have to speed through Mandela’s life just to avoid a four-hour-long epic.

TOO RESPECTFUL 

The film is too reverential and respectful of its subject, almost afraid to dig deeper than what most people already know about the man and his story.

The rather lacklustre storytelling aside, Elba's performance will give you the chills, easily providing inspirational moments.

With the help of some terrific makeup effects, Elba ages as Mandela convincingly, effectively conveying the various qualities he possessed: the resolute, almost defiant stubbornness, as well as the poise and calm.

‘Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom’ is well-intentioned in celebrating the heroism of the man, led by Elba’s towering performance, yet one cannot help but feel that Mandela’s extraordinary life deserves a slightly more extraordinary treatment. 

‘Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom’ is now showing in cinemas

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Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom
  • Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom

    (2014)
  • Rated
    PG13 /
    Genre
    Biography, Drama
  • Language
    Eng
  • (1 Review)