Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2013)

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Released 11-Jun-2014

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Biography Trailer-x 3 for other Roadshow releases
Featurette-Tribute Gallery
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2013
Running Time 135:27
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Justin Chadwick
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Idris Elba
Naomie Harris
Tony Kgoroge
Riaad Moosa
Case ?
RPI ? Music Alex Heffes


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     There are only a few people in the last century who by their will and inspiration can be said to have changed their country’s course: Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela are some who spring to mind. Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, based upon the autobiography by Nelson Mandela, covers 50 years of South African history. It starts with a short preliminary sequence then follows Mandela as an attorney in Johannesburg in 1942, the hardening of apartheid in 1948 and the suppression of non-white rights, the Sharpeville massacre of 1960, the movement of the ANC from non-violent to violent protest, the capture and trying of the ANC leadership including Mandela on terrorism charges, the incarceration of the leaders on Robbin Island for 26 years, the campaign to free Mandela, his release, the end of apartheid and the election of Mandela in 1994 as the first black president of South Africa.

     It is difficult for a film running 135 minutes to do justice to 50 years of a turbulent life but Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom generally succeeds because it picks out pivotal moments and maintains an easy to follow chronological sequence of events but, more importantly, it mains a focus throughout on the personal drama of Nelson Mandela the man. In this the film is aided by the excellent performances of Idris Elba (who won a Golden Globe for his lead role in Luther) as Nelson Mandela and Naomie Harris (seen recently as Eve Moneypenny in Skyfall) as his second wife Winnie Mandela. Nelson is not a saint, his womanising led to the break-up of his first marriage, and the film is both powerful and effecting as it charts the courtship and marriage of Nelson and Winnie, his conviction and the attempts to break his spirit in gaol, Winnie’s own harassment and imprisoning by the authorities and her radicalisation which, after Nelson was released and preached reconciliation, drove a wedge between them. Also good are is Tony Kgoroge and Riaad Moosa as two of Mandela’s long-time friends in the ANC, Walter Sisulu and Ahmed Kathrada.

     You don’t have to know the recent history of South Africa to enjoy and appreciate Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. It is a relatively straightforward chronological biography, full of scenes of human drama, human frailties, sadness, tragedy and triumph. It may not be for the specialist, but with beautiful photography by cinematographer Lol Crawley and superb performances of Idris Elba and Naomie Harris the film is powerful and inspirational and delivers an insight into the man, and events, that shaped modern South Africa.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the original theatrical ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

     The print is very good. It is sharp and detailed with beautiful, deep colours showing equally well the South African veldt, the cities and Robbin Island, helped by being filmed in actual locations. Blacks and shadow detail are fine, brightness and contrast consistent and skin tones natural.

     There is some aliasing evident on check suits, tile roofs and prison wire, and the end titles occasionally jump towards the end but otherwise artefacts and marks are absent.

    English subtitles for the hearing impaired are available in a large white font. At other times smaller white subtitles automatically translate sections of non-English dialogue.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 track at 448 Kbps. Also available is an English audio description track, Dolby Digital 2.0 at 256 Kbps, utilising a female voice.

     For what is essentially a non-action film, the audio is quite enveloping. Dialogue is centred and although occasionally difficult to hear there are the subtitles. The rears and surrounds are frequently in use for crowds, engines, weather effects and engines but it is the music by Alex Heffes that is a constant. This score is a classic orchestral track, epic and sweeping, and it sometimes tends to dominate. Traditional African music is also used to good effect. There are some directional effects, such as car and aircraft engines, while the sub-woofer added bass, sometimes quite a bit, to the music, crowds and effects.

     Lip synchronisation fine.

     The layer chance at 78:54 created a slight pause near to a scene change.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Trailers (6:34)

     Trailers for Winter’s Tale, Nebraska and 3 Days to Kill play on start-up. They cannot be selected from the menu.

Tribute Interview Gallery (15:39)

     Tributes and personal memories of Mandela from

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The Region A US Blu-ray version of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom includes:

     Our Region B Blu-ray seems to include the featurette on Mandela but not the commentary.

     There are no reviews of the Region 1 US DVD that I can find, so I cannot say if it includes the same extras as the US Blu-ray. If it does, it would be the best release.

Summary

     Reactions of critics to Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom have been mixed, some finding it too slow, others saying it speeds along. I did not find the film slow; it may be overly respectful to the material, and during the closing credits are shown black and white photographs of scenes that seem to have been faithfully recreated in the film, but there is no denying the power of the film and the superb performances of Idris Elba and Naomie Harris.

     The DVD has good video and audio. The extras are limited compared to what are available on the US Blu-ray.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Monday, May 25, 2015
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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