From the juiced-box but not the soundtrack: Peter Gabriel – Biko
[Press ‘Play’ for a moment more inspiring than the movie ever achieves]
For those of you doubters who still don’t believe i see shit before the States, here are the screen shots i snapped with my phone.
Ramblings: Long Walk on the wrong track
Final Proof: 2½ Shots
You know how you get drunk studying for a history test? You’re sitting on a stool and the book is sitting on the sticky counter absorbing spilled foam and sloshed cocktails but that’s OK because the times you’re reading about are more important than the book itself and you start to get bored as the booze kicks in so you skip straight to the pictures and realize the book is only a well intentioned way to make money and not meant to inspire anyone and if you want some fucking inspiration you have to go directly to the source. That’s what watching Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom was like.
Here’s the main problem with the film: Mandela’s life is modern history. Hell, he was still alive after the film was completed. Can you imagine watching a movie someone made of your life and at the end telling the director you thought it was boring? Which would really suck because you’re life isn’t at all boring – and you’re you, imagine how weird it would be for someone as epically non-boring as Mandela.
You know what the best part of the movie was? The news footage, because they showed news clips from the time the events were really taking place and then at the end they showed photos of the real Mandela and the events touched on in the film. In other words, the best bits were the ones the director didn’t make. What i’m saying is, a documentary would’ve been much better than this film. Mandiba’s struggle against apartheid wasn’t so long ago, so they could’ve used original footage, old photos, interviewed real people… That would’ve been a movie that gave you chills whereas this version just left me cold.
See, i know you guys think i’m young and a hep cat like you say in your cool kid lingo, but i’m actually old enough to remember a lot of what happens in this movie. Hell, i was boycotting Coke because of their interests in South Africa and i was standing alone in my basement in front of the mirror putting on a concert where i sang Peter Gabriel’s “Biko” fighting back tears because i’m nothing if not an over sensitive son of a bitch with an out of proportioned sense of injustice. Ah, if only this movie were as intense as i am.
i’m also old enough to remember listening to this killer song called “Sun City” by Artists United Against Apartheid (in 1985) which you gotta see because it’ll save you the time and money you would’ve otherwise spent on the Long Walk to Freedom and plus, where else can you see Lou Reed, Miles Davis, Ringo Starr, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Run DMC, and fucking Joey Ramone all singing together in the same song?
Finally, let’s be honest and you know me, i’m nothing if not an honest man (though the fact that sometimes i’m nothing does not necessarily mean i’m dishonest…)– Idris Elba is a great fucking actor and probably a handsome man but he looks absolutely nothing like Nelson Mandela. Nelson was a clearer skinned African as well as being rather small and almost frail in stature while Idris is this huge fucking giant of a beautiful black man. i know i’m coloring way out of line here, but i found the lack of physical resemblance distracting.
Just remember, you’re allowed to hate the movie without hating the man or what he fought for.
Buzz Kills (Watch Out for Spoilers)
Sex: 0 Shots
Obviously Winnie Mandela played a huge role in Nelson’s life but to be completely honest, i don’t really care about how they met, how they fell in love, what they looked like when they kissed, what they looked like when they screwed, what they looked like when he proposed to her, or what they looked like when they got married.This is more like looking through Mandela’s family album and i wished they would’ve spent more time on the man’s philosophies than his wooing.
There is also a standup quickie with a political groupie after he married his first wife but before he met Winnie. This is to show us that Mandela was a ladies’ man and is pretty typical of how this movie covers what we’ve already heard about Mandela.
The extra beautiful and enormously talented Nomfusi Gotyana portrayed Miriam Makeba and sang some killer South African style music in a bar in the beginning.
Drink: 0 Shots
The only real drinking reference is when a drunk black friend of Mandela’s is arrested leaving a bar because he doesn’t have his papers and then he’s beaten to death by the police after he throws up on a cops shoes. Also, Winnie is shown sipping what might be either iced tea or whiskey. Oh yeah, and that mug on the table in that one scene was either half empty with beer or piss, judging by how yellow it was.
Rock & Roll: 1 Shot
Mandela spent 18 years in prison and i think the director of Long Walk to Freedom wanted us to appreciate what this tedium felt like by cutting most of the violence associated with the fight against white supremacy in South Africa. Oh sure there are some token scenes representing the overall pain involved with the struggle but more attention is paid to the love story with Winnie than the end of white rule Mandela brought about.
That rant over, there were some pretty cool songs thrown in the mix:
- Gil Scott-Heron – The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
- Public Enemy – Fight the Power
- Bob Marley – War
There was also one crappy song filling out the credits, the ultra ordinary “Ordinary Love” by U2, no offense.
Boring Technical Crap
Written by: Nelson Mandela – Autobiography William Nicholson – Screenplay
Directed by: Justin Chadwick
Naomie Harris – Winnie Madikizela
Nomfusi Gotyana – Miriam Makeba
Idris Elba – Nelson Mandela
Wait for this to come out online, even Mandiba himself would forgive you
Al K Hall’s Drawers
The review is over, now let’s get to the revue, which will feature exclusively the bodily charm of Naomie Harris.