MANDELA: LONG WALK TO FREEDOM

BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
MARCH 22, 2014

Timing is everything. And in the case of “Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom” and its release date occurring very close to the actual passing of Nelson Mandela is simply a coincidence and an example of perfect timing as far as biopics go. I will always remember driving down Sunset Blvd and seeing huge advertisements for a film that had already been out for a week or so (the film came out in the United States on November 29, 2013, Nelson Mandela died on December 5, 2013, at the age of 95) despite most advertisements of that stature belonging to blockbusters that were set to release in the upcoming months, but never a small, arthouse feature that had passed its release date already. But whatever got people to see the film, it did not disappoint and chronicled the adult life of the most influential man in South Africa’s history.

If you’re interested in learning about the inner workings of Nelson Mandela, director Justin Chadwick’s dramatization of those events are well shot and well-acted, with the mega-talented Idris Elba playing the leading role while Naomie Harris impresses as Winnie Mandela, offering an insight into her life that wasn’t necessarily public knowledge. The film follows Mandela as he deals with the changing landscape of South Africa and the apartheid, becoming a strong voice of the people to whom citizens would flock to. That path eventually leads to his family coming second to his politics and the government’s focus towards him and locking him away. A film that would fit perfectly in a high school history class about the subject, Elba brings a higher caliber performance that raises this from PBS special to a powerful feature film, all while educating the masses to South Africa’s sorted past. Along with the Academy Award-nominated original song from U2 titled “Ordinary Love,” which was featured at the Oscars, and strategically placing billboards in the busiest streets in the city right after Mandela’s death, captures an audience that may have never ventured to see it otherwise and for that, this film reaches beyond bland biopics and creates a truly unique and in-depth look at a very influential figure in world history.

RELEASE DATE
November 29, 2013

DIRECTOR
Justin Chadwick

WRITTEN BY
William Nicholson

BASED ON
“Long Walk to Freedom”
by Nelson Mandela

STUDIO
The Weinstein Co.

PG-13
(for some intense sequences of violence and disturbing images, sexual content and brief strong language)

BIOGRAPHY
DRAMA
HISTORY

141 minutes

CINEMATOGRAPHER
Lol Crawley

COMPOSER
Alex Heffes
U2

EDITOR
Rick Russell

CAST
Idris Elba
Naomie Harris
Fana Mokoena
Thapelo Mokoena
Jamie Bartlett
Deon Lotz
Terry Pheto

PRODUCED BY
David M. Thompson
Anant Singh

BUDGET
$35 million

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