Invictus [Blu-Ray] Clint Eastwood

Invictus [Blu-Ray] Clint Eastwood
For the most part, the good thing about Clint Eastwood is that he knows his directorial limitations, relying on his actors and cinematographer to carry what is mostly a desultory exercise in framing without purpose. And it's a formula that has won the man Oscars and millions of dollars, so clearly it's working out for him quite well. Unfortunately, with Invictus, he got a little too excited about the material, doing more than working with the actors and suggesting juxtapositions and "meaningful" shots. The result is part epic, part confusion and mostly ABC Family cheese. For example, following a meaningful speech from Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) about post-apartheid South Africa and the possibility of a bright future, he goes to a shot of a helicopter flying through the skies while a song called "Colorblind" plays. It's meaningful because the movie is about race. I would expect this sort of thing from Brett Ratner or Mimi Leder, or in an episode of Grey's Anatomy, but here it's just awkward and hilarious. But because this is a story of the great Nelson Mandela fighting public perception while trying to unite a broken country through rugby, it is unlikely that anyone will notice these many stilted film school decisions. The main reason is that Morgan Freeman is his usual charming self and Matt Damon does his best with his rugby captain role, both of them giving that wide-eyed, uplifting gaze American cinema is based on. We can even ignore the fact that what is tying a country together is little more than the fleeting feeling of arbitrary superiority based on a game played by a handful of roughhousing boys. While the Blu-Ray comes with the usual parade of features, such as Freeman meeting Mandela and Clint Eastwood talking about his career, they've opted for a "picture-in-picture" commentary, which is a series of well-timed interview snippets from the cast and crew. It offers a political examination of the film and contextualizes what was happening at that time far beyond what is seen within. (Warner)