Archive for the ‘Edris Elba’ Category

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom

10 Jan

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom – directed by Justin Chadwick. BioFlic. 141 minutes Color 2013. ★★★★

The Story: A black country boy in South Africa becomes a lawyer and strives for the political equality of all his nation.


My cavil with it is that the leading role is miscast, and I keep seeing it in every frame. Idris Elba is the actor playing Nelson Mandela, and Elba is a wonderful actor in this, but he is built like mack truck and Mandela was built like a skiff. Idris Elba has the neck of a line-backer. That Mandela was slender in neck and frame was part of his appeal and power: to think that so frail a man in appearance could withstand so much physical torture. Elba has immense dark gravitas; Mandela was a light. The part needed Bill Bojangles Robinson not Jackie Robinson It doesn’t work.

But what a story! The material is fully dramatized including Mandela’s relations with his wives, particularly with Winnie Mandela who remained bellicose when Mandela became the peace-maker. We are taken into Robben Island Prison and the 26 years of hard labor there, and we are taken into the years as Mandela became the center-pin of the anti-apartheid scandal burning South Africa.

We see the villages and the townships of the cities, what they were like, how folks lived, how Mandela moved through them to prominence and natural moral leadership and eventual capture as a terrorist. We live through the days of the infamy of the forces linked against him.

But the fact was, he was too famous to kill.

Or was he?

No matter. I lived in the time of Eleanor Roosevelt and FDR and Churchill and Gandhi and Albert Schweitzer and Sister Kenny and Helen Keller. Shaw, O’Neill, Thomas Mann were my contemporaries. There were many Great Humans alive in those days. People on the order of Nelson Mandela. But in our time,  he was almost alone. Now he is gone. The Dali Lama is left. No one else that I know of.

Therefore it benefitted me to visit his biography once again. It’s a Great Man’s Tale. Don’t deprive yourself of it, even if you imagine you already know it. Great Men’s Tales are never heard  if only heard but once.

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