MANDELA: LONG WALK TO FREEDOM – A Review by John Strange

mandela__long_walk_to_freedom_2014-1280x720 - lobby card


By: John ’Doc’ Strange

Directed by: Justin Chadwic

Cast: Idris Elba, Naomie Harris, Tony Kgoroge, Riaad Moosa

MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for some intense sequences of violence and disturbing images, sexual content and brief strong language)

Selig Rating: FULL PRICE

Runtime: 141 Min.

Everyone knows the basic story of Nelson Mandela, freedom fighter imprisoned for decades who became the elder statesman following his release.  Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom tells us the back story of Mandela’s life.

Earning a law degree, Mandela defended the blacks in his native South Africa.  Sadly, the racial inequality between the white ruling class and the blacks was steadily deteriorating.  Slowly the courts rulings were becoming more and more skewed to support the white side of any case regardless of where the justice resided.

For years he resisted joining the growing political movement/unrest.  When he finally reached the end of his ability to, no so much ignore as accept the way the world was working.  Once involved in the movement he jumped in with both feet, using violence whenever he felt it was appropriate.

I have heard people say that the man was responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths during the years.  Was he?  The film does not cover this fact but based on the story as it played on the screen.  What I got from the film is that Winnie (Naomie Harris) was the more violent of the two.  Nelson was not afraid to use violence but when it was time to talk he was ready.  She, sadly, wasn’t.

This film stars Idris Elba as Nelson Mandela.  You will recognize him from Thor and Thor: The Dark World where he portrays Heimdall, guardian of the Rainbow Bridge.  His portrayal here is excellent.  He really embodies the essence of the public persona that we know as Nelson Mandela while giving most of us a fuller back story than we knew before we sat in that theater seat.

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is a long film at 141 minutes (over two hours) but the flow of the film is steady and the story is gripping.  I give this film a fist pumping FULL PRICE.  Mr. Mandela passed away a few days prior to the screening I attended.  His statesmanship made a difference in our world.  May he rest in peace.

Movie Site:

The Selig Rating Scale:

FULL PRICE – Excellent movie, well worth the price
MATINEE – Good movie
DOLLAR – OK movie
CABLE – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
FREEBIE – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn't paid for it.
COMMERCIAL TV – Commercials and cutting to the allotted time will not hurt this one.
FORGET IT! – Bad. If you see this one, do yourself a favor and keep it to yourself.
GET YOUR TORCHES – BAD! – Burn the script, the writer, the director and maybe even the actors!

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