Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom [Blu-Ray]

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Chris Delloiacono's picture

As a teacher, it's wonderful to bring to light the amazing changes that have occurred in the world. When you bring history to life, there are no better discussions that can happen. Enlightenment to the past and the present and readiness for the future are the way to build good citizens. Children NEED to be aware of the hatred of the past, even if it's hard to understand.

The film "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" offers a revealing view of the vile institutional racism of Apartheid in South Africa. More so, this is a view of one of the key figures embroiled in that time, Nelson Mandela. Idris Elba is in no way a photo double of Mandela, but he totally embodies the spirit and mannerisms of the heroic icon. Equally phenomenal was the work of Naomie Harris to bring Mandela's wife, Winnie, to life. With such wonderful real life footage of the Mandelas, there wouldn't be a need for this filmic journey if Elba and Harris didn't put together award-worthy performances.

Screenwriter William Nicholson and director Justin Chadwick pull together the 27-year prison ordeal of Mandela as well as the events that book end those travails. It's a situation that mirrors events with the American Civil Rights movement in some ways and goes beyond. The instances of racial hatred are often hard to watch, but that's the power of film and the ability of the medium to bring history to the masses.

The United States is rightfully vilified for the length of time it took to break down many of its institutional forms of racism, but it's stunning to believe the system of Apartheid survived into the '90s. Whether you lived through it or not, you should see this recreation of the system's fall. It's "feel bad" for a good amount of the running time, but you will be uplifted in the end.

The extras aren't bad, but definitely lack depth. There's an interesting 20-minute or so documentary about Mandela and his historical importance. I would have loved a more in depth piece, though. You also get a photo gallery, director commentary, and a few featurettes. The extras could be better, but the film is a beautifully acted and utterly compelling view at hatred and the love that eventually overcomes.

 

Grade: 
A-