Invictus (and a Rugby question) (no spoilers)

Well, I don’t have any spoilers, but if anyone does, please box them.

I discovered two things about Invictus last night.

First is that it’s a very good movie that you don’t have to understand Rugby to enjoy.

Second is that, boy, I do not understand Rugby!

It’s going to get a lot of awards attention, but I’m not sure I agree with that. I’m not quite sure why, except thinking that it’s a movie about important South African figures featuring American actors and directed by an American, so it doesn’t seem quite right. I have no explanation for or further articulation of my feelings. As a movie, it was solid Clint Eastwood, with good acting and writing. It’s certainly a feel-good movie.

Morgan Freeman is getting a lot of attention, but really, he doesn’t have to do much but be a good combination of Morgan Freeman and Nelson Mandela, and keep his accent straight, and he does all that very well. Matt Damon’s accent seems pretty authentic, though of course I wouldn’t know, and he’s very buff. The story is interesting but it isn’t a biography of Mandela, this is just a slice of one part of Mandela’s story. I enjoyed the music, when it was focusing on South African music, but they could have lost the bland sensitive-guy songs which added nothing, IMO.

Bottom line: A good movie, solid entertainment, a story that’s worth knowing, and it’s worth watching.
Now, Rugby: what’s with all the players going at it shoulder-to-shoulder trying to push each other back? And what’s with lifting a player up out of the fray so he can toss the ball? That was pretty cool. I tried reading Wikipedia’s page about Rugby and was lost very quickly. Even Cricket in Laagan didn’t seem this confusing. If I learn more about Rugby then the movie will be a bit more comprehensible the next time I see it, though it didn’t lose anything overall by my being totally clueless.

One thing I do wish I’d known before seeing the movie: the South African team is called the Springboks. I thought they were saying Spring Box, which seemed like a really weird name, because I kept thinking of mattresses, and it was distracting every time I heard the name. :smack: Now I know that they’re named after a South African antelope.

I learned in my Wikipedia reading that there are two main types of Rugby, Union and League. The movie’s Rugby is Union. The New Zealand team is called the All Blacks because of their uniforms. Funny, that team is so famous that when I heard the name “All Blacks” I immediately knew they were from New Zealand, even though I’m the most clueless person alive regarding sports. I also knew that they had that fascinating Maori ritual before the game to try and psyche out (freak out) the other team. I couldn’t have told you before the movie that they were a Rugby team though. I would have guessed Soccer.

It’s called a scrum.

Are you referring to a line-out?

Yes, that’s it on both. Thanks!

This is a nice, funny interview with Eastwood, Freeman and Damon:

Anyone interested in learning more about Nelson Mandela should see the Jonathan Demme-produced 1996 documentary entitled simply Mandela. It’s factual but well-done and incredibly uplifting.

Bolding mine - as long as you accept that it has been “Holywoodised” and is not a true historical account. I believe (I have neither read the book nor seen the movie) that there are several events depicted that never took place and that other events have been “enhanced” for dramatic effect.

If it doesn’t mention the All Blacks being given food poisoning in their hotel, it ain’t the truth :wink:

And, for the record, I have known many South African rugby fans who believe that it did happen.


It’s called the Haka. The other team’s job is to stand completely impassive while this is going on.
I’ve always wanted the Springboks to afterwards break into Indlamu,* a la* Johnny Clegg, but they never do :frowning:

I believe that part of the sanitisation was that they could only show the four minutes of each match that the Boks weren’t cheating.

However, now that we’re well and truly into the professional era, they’ve managed to get it down to a minute and an half per game.

Seriously, I’d expect them to almost make out that playing for field goals wasn’t an indication that the team’s five-eighth regularly molested animals.

I’m with Si on this one, where’s Suzie? Fourteen years on and it still bugs me.

Not always.

Sometimes impassive is just as impressive ! (Actually this was the best bit of the match :frowning: )