Sunday, 7 March 2010


In a last-gasp effort, I have increased the number of Oscar nominees that I've watched to twelve, which - as I've never been that much of a movie freak - is probably a personal record. This weekend I saw Avatar (the less said the better... Okay, I will say this: it's like a screensaver, pretty, but no plot), In The Loop (an unfunny version of The Office against a backdrop of international politics and the threat of war) and Invictus.

Now, Wikipedia and IMDb both say the title and the plot point the film was named after are incorrect, in that it involved a different text (Theodore Roosevelt's 1910 Man in an Arena-speech, but this poem works so well I am inclined to forgive the makers. Also, Mr. Freeman appears to still be friends with Mr. Mandela and François Pienaar recieved Matt Damon at his house so the actor could study him, so the main characters involved did not seem to object.

And of course, it's such a powerful little poem:


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

-- William E. Henley

I remember watching Nelson Mandela walk to freedom, I remember following the amazing '95 World Cup and therefore I may be biased, but this is one awesome movie. And apart from a few minor details it's all true!

Damon and Freeman and completely made me believe they were those who they portrayed, which is always harder when the subject is still alive, and deserve their nominations.

P.S. If you're able to watch BBC2 tonight, you can judge In The Loop for yourself. Dutch viewers with a subscription to Film1 or Caiway digital can watch animated short nomination A Matter of Loaf and Death, a Wallace and Grommit film, at 23:45 - with the coverage starting at midnight.

P.P.S. It's been a busy weekend, I also saw the better-than-average disaster movie 2012 and the very funny animation Planet 51.

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