Cinema Review: Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom

Studio: The Weinstein Company
Directed by Justin Chadwick

Nov 28, 2013 Issue #48 - November/December 2013 - HAIM
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Idris Elba stars as Nelson Mandela in this sweeping biography of the South African leader, which tracks his life from his beginnings as a revolutionary through his 27 years of incarceration, all the way up through his election to the presidency. The film is rightfully brutal in its depiction of the horrors of apartheid, rarely holding back when it comes to that dark period of recent history. The film also devotes a significant portion of screen time to Mandela’s wife, Winnie (Naomie Harris), a major revolutionary figure in her own right.

Elba does a fine job in his portrayal of Mandela, from his days as a young lawyer to the grey-haired leader of his later years. (There are points where the makeup fails or his accent sounds off, but these distractions are infrequent.) The film’s biggest fault is that it tries to bite off too much. In its sprawling attempt to cover the entirety of Mandela’s life, several sections feel glossed over, even at a runtime of two and a half hours. Biopics of similarly large scope often fall prey to this problem; no matter how savvy the screenwriter, it’s hard to adapt a 600-page autobiography to the silver screen.

Author rating: 6/10

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