Thursday, 23 June 2011

Best Actor 2009: Morgan Freeman in Invictus

Morgan Freeman received his fifth Oscar nomination for portraying Nelson Mandela in Invictus.

Invictus tells the story of the winning season of the South African Rugby team, and how it aligned with race relations in a post apartheid South Africa.

Morgan Freeman's performance as Nelson Mandela is really a far too calculated one in many ways. The way he shakes his hand, the way he stands, and walks, the way he talks is all calculated to make him seem like the real Nelson Mandela. The problem is a lot of the time it just seems to be a bit too much, he just seems to be trying to hard most of the time, making it seem a tad unnatural.

It is not helped by that Freeman is not always entirely consistent either, he fails to always be the Mandela he is in one scene as he is in another scene. This is quite disappointing, and unfortuantely true. In some scenes his mannerisms, and voice completely fall by the way side making his performance even more lacking. This is unfortunate because Freeman seems like he should be perfect for the part, but he just is not, frankly sometimes it seems director Clint Eastwood should had few takes to always ensure the voice and mannerisms were consistent.

Freeman performance unfortuantely mostly consists of these mannerisms, since Mandela really is not investigated all that much in the film, or at least as one would think. Mandela really is only dealt with in relation to the Rugby team. There are minor scenes that attempt to tell more about him, such as when asked about his family, but really it can't be said his Mandela does much more than make passionate speeches about the need to unify the country behind the rugby team.

Freeman is properly passionate I suppose though in his speeches, as well as Freeman does have his natural charisma that shines through here as it usually does in his performances. Also the breif moments that show his past while in prison are well handled by Freeman as he does have some weight in his single look he gives showing the struggles Mandela is going through and will continue to be going through. Still though the mannerisms almost completely sink the performance, they are just far too broad, and overarching to be ignored. This performance is a bit of a missed opportunity, not all bad, but most certianly lackluster.

6 comments:

RatedRStar said...

I'm surprised he got the nomination because Invictus was a film that not many people saw??

dshultz said...

If I remember correctly, wasn't Matt Damon in more scenes than Mr. Freeman here?

joe burns said...

I wasn't interested in this at all, not surprised he got a so-so ranking.

RatedRStar said...

Shame =( because when I first heard that he was gonna play Nelson Mandela I thought he was perfectly cast

Sage Slowdive said...

Perfectly cast, but not well executed.

mrripley said...

Agreed perfect casting poor execution and eastwood needs to learn that the first take is not always best a la jolie in changeling or some of the actors in hereafter!!!