Saturday, 11 January 2014

Movie Review: Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

 Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is another biopic drama film about one of the world's most revered leaders, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela's remarkable life story, based on his 1994 memoir. Early in the film, we get to see his brief transition to adulthood, his job as a lawyer before joining the ANC(African National Congress) fight against South Africa's white oppressors, which leads to his imprisonment on Robben Island.
The film shows a passionate man who truly cares about equality and human rights and this dedication has taken its toll on his personal his first marriage crumbled because his wife couldn't take his long absences from her and how his second wife, Winnie ultimately suffered when she is taken and tortured by the authorities after Mandela's imprisonment. Furthermore, as a result of his arrest and conviction for those actions taken to defy the oppressive government, he spent 27 years away from his young family, unable to see his children growing up, unable to be with his wife or even attend his son's funeral. Not to mention, he received numerous abuse and unfair treatment from the prison guards when he's on Robben Island. We get to see some truly emotional heart-wrenching moments as the film progresses.
The Sharpeville massacre occurred on 21 March 1960 depicted in the film is truly shocking. Without hesitation, the police force were shown to open fire on the crowd of ordinary people at that time, killing 69 innocent people. By 1948, when Apartheid has become a law in South Africa, we can clearly see that it's truly a violation of human rights when black citizens segregated from the white facilities and there's always a strong military presence around the black neighbourhoods to constantly monitoring them. This serves as a reminder for all of us about the atrocities committed by people to its own kind in the past...even now, racism is still prevalent in our world.
Throughout the film, Idris Elba managed to provide a good performance as Mandela in conveying emotions of regret in him for not being able to be with his wife and children all those years when in prison. However, his portrayal of the character is unconvincing at times due to his large, muscular body size. Another noteworthy performance in the film is Naomie Harris' portrayal of second wife Winnie, as we can see the gradual transition of her character from a gentle and loving woman to an aggressive, unforgiving, ideological opponent when he is freed from prison after 27 years.
While the film does a great job in showing Mandela's life history, the film lacks his insight, which is needed for the film to truly shine. The film doesn't provide the thought processes of Mandela in why and how he finally reach a decision to forgive the people who put him in prison for most of his life in the end. It is felt that more dialogues and further screen time between Mandela and Winnie are needed to further delve into the troubled relationship they experienced after been separated for 27 years.

While the film does have its faults, it's still a faithful appraisal of the man about his life, his failures and achievements in ensuring peace, forgiveness and reconciliation for an entire nation. It shows that one human, despite his flaws, can make a difference to the world.

Rating: 8/10

“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” - Mandela

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” - Mandela

No comments:

Post a Comment