22 January 2014

What I Watched: Mandela- Long Walk to Freedom

Image source

One of the things I find most frustrating about being in a long-distance relationship is not having anyone to watch movies with. Pete and I are both huge film fans and have cultivated an impressive to-watch list between us, as well as amassing a frankly ridiculous DVD collection. Obviously we watch films alone and with friends too, but each of us are lacking a chum who is as keen on movies as we are and it's annoying when we're both desperate to see a film but geography prevents us being able to go to the cinema together. Usually it's fine waiting for films to appear on DVD or TV, but there are instances when you just know a film will be best enjoyed in the cinema and you can't find someone who wants to share the couples combo with you.

One of the films we both really wanted to see was Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, the long-awaited adaptation of Nelson Mandela's autobiography, starring Idris Elba and Naomie Harrie. As part of my Christmas present, Pete booked us tickets to watch it at the beautiful Regal Cinema in Evesham. The cinema itself was absolutely beautiful; it looked like a theatre and was so well decorated. We also got ourselves a cool 'loveseat' to sit in so we could be extra comfortable and waited for the film to begin.

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom has been highly anticipated for quite a while and the buzz around it was increased when Mandela sadly passed away in December last year. I am a huge Idris Elba fan (Stringer Bell 4eva) and with him cast in the lead role my excitement for the film grew.

The film covers Mandela's life as he becomes politically active and chronicles his incarceration in Robben Island, his eventual release and his election as South African president. It also details his human relationships too, including his marriage to Winnie Madikizela. It's a story that you vaguely know already, that's in your consciousness as part of history, but you never know much of the detail around it.

First things first, the performances in the film were incredible. Elba was of course excellent but Naomie Harris was something else. She perfectly captured the initial woman in love, then she was excellent as a woman bringing up her children with a husband in jail and by the last part of the film she was astonishing as a woman so full of anger and hatred. She was truly brilliant.
The film itself was also captivating, providing an insight into the situation in South Africa that moved Mandela to take a stand and it didn't gloss over the extreme actions Mandela and the ANC used to spread their message which I thought was admirable. I also really enjoyed the way certain parts of the film were intercut with real footage from the period; I felt it helped remind you of the reality of the situation and showed you how people were really affected during that time in a way that a film just can't quite capture.
The film was totally engaging and I was entranced for the duration; even when the bulb went out (twice!) and we had to wait half an hour for them to fix it, I couldn't wait to see what happened next and it was easy to get back into the movie even with the interruptions.

If I had one criticism of the film, it would be that it doesn't provide enough detail; it seemed to flit from one part to the next and skip large periods of time. I do understand that this is due to the length of Mandela's imprisonment and the original text from which the film was developed, but there were instances where I felt like I'd been left behind a little. This will be rectified once I read the book, which is something I do hope to manage soon!

Overall, I'd definitely recommend Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom to anyone. It's a great introduction to and reminder of a crucial piece of recent human history, as well as an insight into a true icon and hero.

Did you see Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom? What did you think of it?

No comments:

Post a Comment