The struggles of one of the greatest modern leaders is brought to life with a stirring performance from a Golden Globe-nominated Idris Elba.
In 1948, the South African government inflicted a racial segregation upon their people that forced black citizens into poverty-stricken townships away from wealthy white communities. Apartheid was the last straw for charismatic lawyer Nelson Mandela (Idris Elba). He swapped his hitherto hands-off approach to black activism, and grew to become a prominent figure in a political movement striving for equality.
His dedication to the cause would put strain on his family, his friendships and ultimately confine him to almost 30 years of imprisonment. But some men are born to lead and when Mandela, affectionately known as Madiba by his supporters, walked free after 27 years in prison, a new South Africa and the world rejoiced.
This powerful film is made all the more poignant due to its release date coming just a month after the death of Mandela himself.
British star Idris Elba, whose previous roles range from big budget action heroes (Prometheus, Pacific Rim) to unhinged TV cops (Luther), pays Madiba a fitting tribute with his stately, if unchallenging, turn. As his long-battling wife Winnie, Naomie Harris is also impressive.
If the film has a fault, it fails to scrutinise the life of the great leader with any real intent, but as a reverent document of his life, the feature is spot on.