Idris Elba’s role as as a morally gray detective in BBC’s crime series Luther netted him a Golden Globe, and he has constantly proven himself a standout when taking supporting roles in Thor, Prometheus, Pacific Rim, and all the way back to HBO’s The Wire. Now, Elba takes a headlining role as Nelson Mandela, the South African revolutionary leader famously imprisoned for nearly 30 years before becoming the first black president of the Republic of South Aftrica, an extraordinary life story which receives the full biopic treatment in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.
A previous international trailer honed in on certain moments of this long story, but a new trailer, which you can watch above, provides the overall sweep of Mandela’s saga. Both trailers promise a committed, intense performance from Elba (who looks and sounds just like the man), as well as from Naomie Harris (Skyfall), who plays Mandela’s wife Winnie, who was a tireless advocate for her husband’s cause for decades.
Here is the official synopsis for the film:
This epic motion picture spans Mandela’s extraordinary life, from his childhood in a rural village through to his inauguration as the first democratically elected President of South Africa. ‘MANDELA’ is the thrilling story of an ordinary man who rose to the challenge of his times and triumphed – an intimate portrait of the making of a modern icon.
This new trailer seems like even more of a greatest hits reel than the last one, which focused more on character moments, including the fact that while Mandela was imprisoned, his wife became almost more of a polarizing and controversial figure than he was.
This trailer is meant more for contemporary American audiences, who will be more familiar with the latter part of Mandela’s life, after his release cemented his status as an international statesman. Both trailers touch on some of the lesser known aspects of Mandela’s life, notably his early assertion that armed resistance was the only route to ending oppression in his country.
This is not the first time Mandela’s life has been dramatized, of course. The 1987 TV movie Mandela featured Danny Glover in the lead role, but Morgan Freeman cast a much longer shadow in director Clint Eastwood’s Invictus, which zeroed in on an elder Mandela during his early days as president of South Africa. Freeman was nominated for an Oscar for his performance (and as a personal friend of Mandela’s, he certainly knew his role inside and out), but Invictus suffered from rote storytelling (read our review here) and an idealized portrayal of Mandela.
Long Walk to Freedom has that epic ring one has come to expect from a Hollywood biopic, but it also seems to provide a much more layered and complex portrait of Mandela, a man whose ideas were partly inspired by Karl Marx, and admitted to acts of sabotage against the apartheid government. While we shouldn’t exactly expect a warts-and-all look at Nelson Mandela, the film’s trump card is Elba, who is never less than interesting, and here seems to have internalized his character’s fiery idealism.
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom will being a limited release in U.S. theaters on November 29th, 2013.
Source: Yahoo! Movies
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