After all the romance, comedy and action, I feel like it’s time for something more serious. I gave myself a little history lesson yesterday by finally watching ‘Mandela: Long walk to freedom’. Why finally? ‘Cause I lived in Johannesburg for nearly a year. He was still alive at the time and I visited memorials and museums about his legacy and the history of Apartheid in general everywhere. So when this movie came out I was really interested, but I guess I never really got to actually watching it.
I must say I was really pleasantly surprised. I imagined it would be a good pic, but I didn’ expect it to be this honest. Quite often when a film is based on a true story, they don’t hold back in highlighting the good stuff. But in this case they actually did their best in showing what happened as trustworthy as possible, by not depicting Mandela as a saint. He was also just a man with faults like the cheating for example . But he is a man who did great things. And so he surely deserves this tribute for giving up almost his entire life in return for the freedom of his nation.
It’s been a long time since I’ve been in South Africa, but I did still remember a few remarkable moments I learned there about its history. I feel like they did a great job in sometimes even subtly explaining Apartheid and what it did to it’s people. The moment the man is carrying Hector Peterson is a good example. It works really well how they mix the reconstructing fiction parts with the archive-material of those times. The makers found a great way to have the viewers understand what the situation at the time was like. Instead of literally explaining they use small practical examples, like the ‘pencil test’ Mandela uses in the beginning to get the girls and the whole short pants/ long pants struggle on Robben Island.
There is one thing though that bothered me a few times while watching. Not all the time, but in too many scenes at the end I get distracted by the make-up. I understand it’s not easy to add 30 years of age on somebody’s face and even more towards the ending, but especially Idris Elba seems so fake to me in some parts. The worst part is when he is being visited by his daughter in prison for the first time. I’m sorry if I’m rude and I wouldn’t know how to do it better myself either. But come on, the man looks like he’s part of ‘The Muppet show’ or maybe some kind of cheap hidden camera prank. It seems like nitpicking. – Again: is this a word English-speaking people actually use? 🙂 – But since it’s mainly like that with the main character, I can’t help but feel like it takes away some of the value and credibility of the movie.
Besides from the make-up however, this is an absolute must see. I think, as far as I can know, it creates an honest and clear image of South Africa at that time, mostly of the cities and townships, but also some of the rural parts. And even if you’re not that into history, it’s still a great story about how some people can be so selfless and desperate, they’d give up their lives to achieve their goals. In this case: freedom. So, there’s only one thing to say really: go watch it.