Tuesday, December 24, 2013

MINI-REVIEW: Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom

Long Walk To Freedom

Idris Elba, Naomie Harris


November 29, 2013 (NY/LA)
December 25, 2013 (WIDE)

Justin Chadwick

The Weinstein Company

2 hours 27 minutes



It seems to me that this is THE year for films about anti-slavery, anti-racism, and all types of freedoms that African Americans have been granted over the past century.  That's not supposed to sound like a bad thing, as "42" and "12 Years a Slave" are among some of my favorite movies of 2013.  However, the difference between those films and the potential Oscar bait that is "Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom" is the way they're executed.  Where "42" and "12 Years" tell their stories flowingly and with a way to let the characters explore the characters portrayed on screen, "Mandela" merely is just a window into the life of a man who has been loved by people all around the world for several decades.

Idris Elba and Naomie Harris deliver fantastic performances as Nelson and Winnie Mandela, respectively, both emulating the emotion and power that these two figures possessed.  Normally I'd go on to praise more things in this type of film, but unfortunately the two leads are the only things I can praise about this movie.  The film itself isn't awful, as it has solid direction and tells the story just right.  Movies that are 2 and a half hours should not feel long and dull, but this one sadly does.  There are scenes in here that just feel like they're forcibly tugging at the heart strings while screaming "Feel sad" at the same time.  The movie overall is a decent watch, but it's nothing spectacular, nor the Oscar contender that executive producer Harvey Weinstein was hoping for.  It's truly a shame, because the life of Nelson Mandela could have been portrayed so much more fluently and to the core rather than dragged out and boring to watch at times.

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