Movie Details

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom

"Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom" is based on the 1994 autobiography by Nelson Mandela, a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary and politician. The film chronicles Mandela`s life journey from his childhood in a rural village through to his inauguration as the first democratically elected president of South Africa.

Language: English
Subtitle: NA
Classification: PG13
Release Date: 20 Mar 2014
Genre: Drama / Historical / Biography
Running Time: 2 Hours 27 Minutes
Distributor: SHAW ORGANISATION
Cast: Idris Elba, Naomie Harris, Tony Kgoroge
Director: Justin Chadwick
Format: 2D

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Review
Writer: Casey Chong

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Watch this if you liked: "Gandhi" and "Invictus".

Great people, which in this case, a great political leader - is either best told in a non-fiction book form or in a more accessible approach - the cinematic medium. Among them that deserved such a treatment is the late Nelson Mandela (recently passed away at the age of 95 from a prolonged respiratory infection) who is often hailed as one of the most revered political leaders ever lived in the 20th century. And the honour goes to this year's traditional but well-meaning biopic, "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom".

"Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom" chronicles from Nelson Mandela's (Idris Elba) beginnings in a rural village to his early career as a passionate young lawyer who later joins the ANC (African National Congress), in which he quickly rises through its ranks and becomes an inspirational figure among his fellow African peoples to fight for their freedom and equality. Then of course, his subsequent 27 years of imprisonment until the crucial days where he is elected as the President of South Africa in 1994 at the age of 75.

UK-born director Justin Chadwick made a breakthrough directing effort here in "Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom" (he was previously known for the historical drama, "The Other Boleyn Girl"). His direction is overall confident and thoughtful. But while Chadwick successfully captured the key moments of Mandela's life, he and screenwriter William Nicholson, in which the movie is based on "Long Walk to Freedom" by Nelson Mandela, doesn't really delve deeper into the humanizing aspect of the man himself. Sure, there are dark sides surrounding Mandela's otherwise noble life by showcasing his first failed marriage as well as his womanizing days when he was a young man. However, these scenes are mostly depicted on a surface level.

Up until now, most viewers of today will probably remembered Morgan Freeman's onscreen depiction as Nelson Mandela in 2009's "Invictus". Now you can add Idris Elba (best known as Heimdall in "Thor" and "Thor: The Dark World") to the list. While he may not possess the facial resemblance of the late Nelson Mandela himself, Elba still manages to bring a convincing performance on the overall. For instance, he does share Mandela's (6'0") imposing frame (even though Elba is taller by 3") and also successfully mimicked his vocal and speech patterns as well as his distinctive South African accent. But best of all is the way Elba captures the charm, dignity, honour and pride of Mandela with such graceful manner. The scenes where he delivers all the vivid speeches are truly inspiring and powerful. As Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Naomie Harris brings solid support to her role while her onscreen chemistry with Elba is simply genuine.

With the recent 3 Golden Globe award nominations including Best Actor (Idris Elba), Best Original Song ("Ordinary Love" by U2) and Best Original Score (Alex Heffes), "Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom" may have not been a perfect biopic but it sure qualifies one of the must-see movies of the year.


Cinema Online, 20 December 2013
   
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Classification
Effective 15 July 2011
G - Suitable for all ages
PG - Suitable for all ages, but parents should provide guidance to their young
PG13 - Suitable for persons aged 13 and above, but parental guidance is advised for children below 13
NC16 - Suitable for persons aged 16 years and above
M18 - Suitable for persons aged 18 years and above
R21 - Restricted to persons aged 21 and above only
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