Harris Sportsthoughts

Thoughts about Sport


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My girlfriend and I were left disappointed last Friday when our plans to visit the sombre surroundings of Robben Island were scuppered due to high winds. I promised her there’d be other islands. Like Canvey Island for instance.

Our contingency was to head to the nearest multiplex to watch the Clint Eastwood’s recently-released Invictus. It seemed like a neat resolution as it revolves around Robben Island’s most famous prisoner and even features a trip there by the 1995 South African rugger squad.

Invictus has the feel of a made-for-television film. Which is strange given the talent involved, although I have to add that Nelson Mandela does a terrific job in the role of Morgan Freeman. Perhaps understandably given the target audience the emphasis has not been placed on creating viscerally realistic scenes of a rugger nature, but it seems careless not to include at least one ‘garryowen’ or ‘hands in the ruck’.

The World Cup Final itself is a strangely sterile affair, not one blubbing prop in sight during the anthems. And the Haka couldn’t be more limpid if it had been performed by the ladies of the Auckland Women’s Institute. The casting director had clearly misplaced his copy of the World Cup 1995 Panini sticker album, because none of the actors look like the ruggers they’re portraying, especially Matt Damon as Francois Pienaar. In fact, only the man playing All Black fly-half Andrew Mehrtens bears a resemblence to the real thing. It’s as if Clint thought to himself at the start of filming: “Get Mehrtens right, and the rest will fall into place”.

So I was left mainly untouched by this. I actually spent most of the film trying to work out why recognised Mandela’s assistant so much. I looked her up later and it turns out she was the sister from Casualty. So there you go.


Written by harrisharrison

January 11, 2010 at 9:22 pm

Posted in Rugger

One Response

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  1. I agree. I can’t help but think that having a non American director who would have played or enjoyed rugby himself might have helped. Surely there is someone in this category?!

    Damon is also about 4 inches shorter than Pienaar which seems a careless bit of casting!


    January 12, 2010 at 4:36 am

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