Nelson Mandela’s quest for freedom

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom Entertainment One Rating: PG 139 minutes

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom was amazingly timed to Nelson Mandela’s passing in December. This is a very appealing look at the great man’s life.

As the film relates, he was born into Xhosa tribal royalty and was a relatively rich and successful lawyer before he got politically involved with the African National Congress. Willing to use violence to fight a brutal and oppressive political system, he was sentenced to life in prison in the 60s for his actions. His reputation and world opinion helped him be released after more than a quarter century in jail.

What’s amazing was his ability to not seek violent revenge for how he and the millions of other coloured South Africans were treated. Without Mandela it might well have been a bloodbath; his was a respected voice of reason for a relatively peaceful transition. Bad things still happened in South Africa; you can’t solve all the problems of a century or two of mistreatment quickly, but without Mandela it would be much worse.

English actor Idris Elba is very good as Mandela, especially in his later years, after his release as he becomes the first fairly elected president of South Africa. Good supporting cast too.

It probably goes on too long. The last hour or so seems to drag, but maybe because, as viewers who lived through that period, it is too familiar. A 1996 documentary, Mandela, shows the reality of this extraordinary life.

Rating: four deer out of five

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Alf Cryderman is a Red Deer freelance writer and old movie buff.