(His charm takes care of wooing Winnie, very slyly played by Naomie Harris.) By the time he gets up in front of cheering crowds, a We are/cancelling/the Apartheid! wouldnt be entirely out of place; both his reigned-in fierceness and the increasing outrageousness of South Africas government make the bombings that follow a kind of inevitability. Collective action is a contradiction for any film that puts its subject in the title Once things turn to prison life, Elbas groundwork carries a lot of the characterization, although the Zen-like placidness of Mandelas older persona doesnt sit on him quite as well, no matter how much make-up they put on him. The major points of his life are dutifully ticked off: a patient passive resistance to get trousers at the prison feels every bit the major victory, Winnies months-long solitary confinement is fitfully brutal and the discussions leading up to his release do a nice job of illustrating the false balance between a man with a relatively simple human rights issue and the complicated concerns of a political structure that doesnt want change to be too forceful. In short, then, there are no major missteps, although its missing some of the life that animated its subject (though only a touch of the length).
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