Early Buzz: Clint Eastwood's Invictus

The first reviews of Clint Eastwood's new film Invictus have begun to appear online. The story tells the "inspiring true story" of how the newly elected President Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) joined forces with the captain of South Africa's underdog rugby team, Francois Pienaar (Matt Damon), as they make an unlikely run to the 1995 World Cup Championship match, to help unite their country. But will Invictus be in the running come awards season? Lets take a look at some quotes from the first reviews.

The Hollywood Reporter: "A temperate, evenhanded perhaps overly timid film about an intemperate time in South Africa." ... "for those who do buy tickets, it will be a pleasure for them to encounter a movie that's actually about something." ... "It's a film about a nation's psyche, not its individuals. Where you would love a vigorous portrayal of two larger-than-life personalities, the film tiptoes through polite scenes where everyone speaks and acts with political correctness." ... "The game scenes are skillfully done — the sound of the body hits lets you know why rugby is an orthopedist's delight. CGI shots and other effects seamlessly fill the stands with thousands and convert contemporary South African locations back 14 years."

More after the jump.

Variety: "Invictus is a very good story very well told." ... "Inspirational on the face of it, Clint Eastwood's film has a predictable trajectory, but every scene brims with surprising details that accumulate into a rich fabric of history, cultural impressions and emotion." ... "Directed by Eastwood with straightforward confidence, the film is marbled with innumerable instances of Mandela disarming his presumed opponents while giving pause to those among his natural constituency who might be looking for some payback rather than intelligent restraint. Freeman, a beautiful fit for the part even if he doesn't go all the way with the accent, takes a little while to shake off the man's saintlike image, and admittedly, the role of such a hallowed contemporary figure does not invite too much complexity, inner exploration or actorly elaboration. That said, Freeman is a constant delight; gradually, one comes to grasp Mandela's political calculations, certitudes and risks, the troubled personal life he keeps mostly out of sight, and his extraordinary talent for bringing people around to his point of view."Newsweek: "Clint Eastwood's Invictus is not your ordinary sports movie" ... "Invictus is not a biopic; nor does it take us deep inside any of its characters—Eastwood views Mandela from a respectful middle distance. It's about strategic inspiration. We witness a politician at the top of his game: Freeman's wily Mandela is a master of charm and soft-spoken gravitas. Anthony Peckham's sturdy, functional screenplay, based on John Carlin's book Playing the Enemy, can be a bit on the nose (and the message songs Eastwood adds are overkill). Yet the lapses fade in the face of such a soul-stirring story—one that would be hard to believe if it were fiction. The wonder of Invictus is that it actually went down this way."The Huffington Post: "Invictus isn't a great movie but it's got great moments." ... "On a scale of one to 10, one being "don't see," and 10 being "go see, even if you have to hire a sitter," I'd say, Invictus is a six: add it to your Netflix queue or watch it on pay-per-view. Those lucky enough to be on a trans-Atlantic flight next year will probably have a chance to see Invictus on the plane, since its political theme and World Cup rugby depictions will undoubtedly make the film more popular abroad than it is here."

Invictus hits theaters on December 11th 2009.

via: The Wrap