Film review: 'Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom' has performances that lift the films spirit high

Friday, 24 January 2014 - 1:16pm IST Updated: Friday, 24 January 2014 - 2:48pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

Film: Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Cast: Idris Elba, Naomie Harris, Tony Kgorge, Riaad Moosa, Jamie Bartlett, Terry Pheto, Gys de Villiers and Robert Hobbs.
Director: Justin Chadwick
Rating: ***

What's it about
It is always risky doing a biopic on someone who has touched so many lives world over with everyone having their own perception of the person. Nelson Mandela was one such public figure whose life has often been documented and chronicled over the years.

With Long Walk to Freedom Justin Chadwick tries to incorporate as many elements of his life as possible in the given window period of a film screening. It is a tough task and he stumbles and just manages to scrape through most of it.

Idris Elba plays the title role with utmost sincerity. Despite having no physical similarities to Mandela he manages to draw you in with a poignant performance. Naomie Harris plays Winnie his life partner and support in his fight against racial discrimination.

What's hot
Those who have followed Mandela's life or read about his revolution will identify some of the important scenes. Be it  27 years of imprisonment or his rousing speech after release, there is a lot to take home from the film.

Performances lift the films spirit high with both Elba and Harris being the stand out acts. There is a lot of prosthetic and make up work that goes into making Elba look like Mandela as he ages.

It looks a bit botched up, but his emotions aren't artificial.

What's not
The film is slow and takes a long time before we actually start following Mandela's struggle and his life. Most of the scenes looks like they have been stuck together and don't flow like a cohesive screenplay should.

With too much material and very little time, Chadwick struggles to find the right balance. Eventually you end up feeling like you read up a Wikipedia page on the man than get a glimpse into his personal life.

What to do
Moderately interesting, Mandela is long and tiring, but the performances make it worth the while.

Watch the trailers:




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