December 11, 2009
On the Big Board
||Clint in fine form; Morgan Freeman's best performance.
||Usual quality from Cint Eastwood. Morgan Freeman *was* Nelson Mandela, but the story felt a little rushed/glossed over.
Clint Eastwood is six years older than Robert Redford. The latter man has appeared in exactly three films since 2001 (not counting voice acting). Invictus will be the eighth film Eastwood has directed in that period. Five of them have received at least one Oscar nomination and a sixth, Gran Torino, became the auteur's most successful box office performer with $148 million. Much has been said of his late-life resurgence. My point here is simple. If Redford wanted to duplicate the feat at roughly the same time period in his life, all he would need to do is earn $447 million worth of box office while garnering 25 Academy Awards nominations including seven wins from the films. Good luck with that, Sundance.
Perhaps the strangest aspect of all of Eastwood's recent success is that none of the projects have looked particularly commercial on paper. The death of a beloved daughter, the paraplegia of a boxer, the tribulations of a racist, and the prejudice against a grieving mother are not usually marketable premises. Eastwood's talent is such that he made each piece an imperative through fabulous storytelling. With Invictus, he has a much more marketable concept. It's a sports movie in the vein of Sylvester Stallone's Victory (huge bonus points to those of you who remember the film) framed from the perspective of Nelson Mandela's viewpoint. Invictus has a chance to combine the finest aspects of Remember the Titans and The Last King of Scotland, and we fully expect this to be another box office hit for the world's most impressive 79-year-old. (David Mumpower/BOP)