Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Let freedom reign
Let freedom reign


D: Justin Chadwick

20th Century Fox/Pathé/Videovision/Distant Horizon/Origin (David M. Thompson & Anant Singh)

UK/South Africa 2013

146 mins


W: William Nicholson [based on the autobiography "Long Walk To Freedom" by Nelson Mandela]

DP: Lol Crawley

Ed: Rick Russell

Mus: Alex Heffes 

Idris Elba (Nelson Mandela), Naomie Harris (Winnie Madikizela), Tony Kgoroge (Walter Sisulu), S'Thandiwe Kgoroge (Albertina Sisulu), Riaad Moosa (Ahmed Kathrada), Zolani Mkiva (Raymond Mhlaba)

Idris Elba really commits to the portrayal of Nelson Mandela in this biographical drama, charting his journey from civil rights lawyer during the segregation of Apartheid, his incarceration at Robben Island penitentiary, and eventual inauguration as the president of South Africa.  Occasionally his accent wavers and the makeup is quite unconvincing, but aside from that it's an excellent performance. One which should have arguably gained the actor an Oscar nomination for Best Actor.

Naomie Harris is also very good as Winnie Madikizela, the revolutionary activist who would later become his wife.

Based on a 700+ page book, the film does rush through a few things which could have taken time, such as the end of Apartheid, which was a hugely significant historical event at the end of 20th Century, and though the first half of the film does focus on Nelson Mandela as a person behind the politics, this gives way as the film progresses as he merely becomes a central figure amongst the changing world around him. In fairness, to squeeze so much history into a 146 minute movie is a noble feat, as Mandela's autobiography could warranted being adapted into a 5 or 6 part mini-series. Enough is covered here to paint an accurate portrayal of a significant historical figure, who himself sadly passed away just a month after the film's premiere.


Idris Elba in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Idris Elba in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom