SYNOPSIS: 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: A LONG WALK TO FREEDOM 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.


It’s a pity Mandela: A Long Walk to Freedom based on the late South Africa President’s autobiography is largely forgotten at any major awards (though U2’s Ordinary Love was nominated at the Oscar), the least it should get is a nomination for Best Actor for it’s leading man, Idris Elba (Thor).

While the biography drama is not without its flaws, the script by William Nicholson offers viewers a vital, condensed study at one of history’s extraordinary men. To be fair, this is not an episodic HBO series in the first place. To both Nicholson and Justin Chadwick’s (The Other Boleyn Girl) credit, the narrative is never that heavy and generally takes an uplifting look at Mandela and the political scene of early South Africa.

You can’t deny the entire life of Mandela is too complex to be told in 144 minutes and the movie no doubt skimmed through parts and only feature the man’s milestones and inspirational moments. In-between shots featuring the people’s riots and oppression, the often bullet-point treatment might irked the perfectionists and the glaring mistake I must add is the proceedings failed to cast further details on Mandela’s life other than highlights which you probably have read somewhere. 

Forget about the obvious missteps along the way, Idris Elba on the other hand is amazing as Nelson Mandela without a doubt. The English actor thoroughly inhibits the role and despite the physical differences (especially in the later years), his portrayal alone is worth the price of admission. Another English actress Naomie Harris (Skyfall) does an admirable job portraying Winnie Mandela, Nelson’s controversial other half until 1996.

Nicholson, which caused a stir with his comments on 12 Years A Slave ruining his Mandela biopic might be unabashed about his scribing work. We can only say it’s best to let audience judge for themselves how good (or bad) the historical drama is. 




The visual transfer is outstanding and during the more aggressive scenes, the 2.0 soundtrack is immersive and clear.



Review by Linus Tee



Genre: Drama/Biography
Starring: Idris Elba, Naomie Harris, Tony Kgoroge, Riaad Moosa, Zolani Mkiva, Simo Mogwaza, Fana Mokoena
Director: Justin Chadwick
Rating: PG13 (Some Violence and Brief Nudity)
Year Made: 2013




Languages: English
Subtitles: English/Chinese
Aspect Ratio: 16x9 Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 2.0
Running Time:  2 hrs 21 mins
Region Code: 3
Distributor: Scorpio East Entertainment