Scripted by William Nicholson, an old hand at historical subjects, both legitimate (“Elizabeth: The Golden Age”) and fanciful (“Gladiator”), and directed by Justin Chadwick (“The Other Boleyn Girl”), “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” — the movie shares the title of Mandela’s 1995 memoir — is the more or less chronological chronicle of a young boy with the royal blood of the Thembu clan who leaves rural South Africa for the city, to become a “native” lawyer, charismatic lady-charmer, African National Congress leader, revolutionary, prisoner and international hero in the struggle to end South Africa’s enforcement of apartheid, an institutionalized system of “total segregation” and “uncompromising white superiority.” (Mandela’s childhood nickname is “Troublemaker,” a designation that would have made a more exciting movie title.) Mandela is played by Idris Elba, a powerful actor who here appears more stolid than strong, even if he does exude a Mandelaesque sense of moral authority. Naomie Harris, meanwhile, is Mandela’s wife, Winnie, and her onscreen transformation from helpmate to firebrand is more interesting than her husband’s steady and ultimately more effective resolve. Winnie’s radicalization occurs while Nelson Mandela is inside the infamous Robben Island prison, serving a life sentence for sabotage. (The movie does not shy away from showing Mandela participating in the bombing of apparently unoccupied power plants and government offices.) During this enforced absence from the world stage, Mandela becomes an international symbol of freedom and even a celebrity, and the movie might have profited if it had focused exclusively on this or some other dramatic period of his life, rather than illustrating highlights of his entire “long walk.” The movie presents Mandela — who served 28 years before South African officials succumbed to international pressure and released him from prison — as the right man for the right time, a Martin Luther King-like figure of uncompromising convictions who nonetheless appreciated the give-and-take of political negotiation, making him palatable to some whites as well as to blacks as South Africa’s first black president. “We cannot win a war but we can win an election,” Mandela tells his impatient associates, who favor a violent response to apartheid. Speaking to a white leader, he is more scolding: “You’ve always been afraid of us. It’s made you an unjust and brutal people.” This brutishness is arguably underplayed, as if the filmmakers were wary of opening old wounds.
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“Bieber” Movie Falters, Beaten in Same Number of Theatres by “Mandela”
Mandelas total was 975. Mandela was number 13 at the Christmas Day box office. Believe was number 14. The former title earned $1,252,131. The latter took in $1,250,000.
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Actor accepts Mandela responsibility
<img src='http://www.suntimes.com/csp/cms/sites/dt.common.streams.StreamServer.cls?STREAMOID=u9qx2jc4n4GRrkKWN5wdV8$daE2N3K4ZzOUsqbU5sYtF1bms89KGqcaKvMIHyODt6FB40xiOfUoExWL3M40tfzssyZqpeG_J0TFo7ZhRaDiHC9oxmioMlYVJD0A$3RbIiibgT65kY_CSDiCiUzvHvODrHApbd6ry6YGl5GGOZrs-&CONTENTTYPE=image/jpeg' width='200px' alt='Idris Leb(left) Riaad Moosstar 'Mandela: Long Walk Freedom.’ | AP Photo/The WeinsteCompany Keith Bernstein’ style=’float:left;padding:5px’ />
That was a victory too, he says. Big Picture News Inc. Show / Hide Comments 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved.
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