Movie review: Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

By Craig Nicholson

2 comments
This powerful film makes you feel as if you are there.
This powerful film makes you feel as if you are there.

Powerful is the only word to describe both the man and this movie.

It is difficult to be anything other than inspired by the life led by Nelson Mandela.

The South African freedom fighter-turned-president endured a lifetime of hardships because of his constant fight for the rights of blacks in his country.

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom tells his story in a dramatic and moving way.

We meet Mandela (Idris Elba) in his early years as a lawyer representing the poor and powerless blacks in his community.

He wasn't a political figure but the African National Congress could see the charisma he carried and wanted him to be a leader in their organisation.

Finally, the daily oppression he experienced made him join ANC ranks and his path of confrontation with the government was set.

These were difficult times in South Africa and the infamous Sharpeville massacre only hardened the resolve of the ANC to make change happen.

When Mandela and his cohorts began blowing up government buildings, his days were numbered.

Arrested and convicted, he was sentenced to life in prison on Robben Island.

This was a man who had every reason to harbour hatred and bitterness but that was not how he was made up.

His resolve was to fight for the rights of all black South Africans and his personal circumstances played no part in that.

We are given an incredible insight into his prison life and the heartbreaking lack of contact with his wife and family.

When the worldwide crescendo of support forced the South African Government to release- and negotiate with - Mandela, the man who emerged was a ready-made statesman who wanted to rebuild his country.

And revenge was to play no part in that.

Elba is quite striking in his portrayal of the great man. He makes you feel as if you are there watching Mandela's life unfold. And Naomie Harris, who plays Winnie Madikizela, is very convincing as the loving, then very dangerous, second wife of Mandela.

Unfortunately, I suspect not enough people will go to see Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom despite the fact it should be compulsory viewing.

(M) 146 minutes

Watch the trailer here:

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