Invictus ***

February 11, 2010 by James Berardinelli - Reelviews
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With the election of Barack Obama, we have apparently entered a kinder, gentler world in which films about racial harmony and goodwill to all men are becoming commonplace (at least during awards season). How else to explain the presence of both The Blind Side and Invictus within the first year of Obama’s term? Both are transparent Oscar bait – they are inspirational and earnest, but each preaches a little too loudly. That’s one of two problems with Invictus: it makes its point early about the power of sports as a force of unification then beats us over the head by repeating that idea ad nauseam. The second issue is that the movie is poorly edited; the inclusion of too much extraneous material adds about 20 minutes to the length and results in parts of the story feeling unfocused. Still, the overall experience is uplifting and enjoyable. History has pre-determined the outcome but, flaws aside, Eastwood has crafted something that works both as a sports drama and as an examination of the birth pains of the racially unified South Africa.

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