Matt Damon looks like a teeny tiny person beside Francois Pienaar


At the premiere of ‘Invictus’ in London.

I saw Invictus when I was in the States – and speaking as someone who very clearly remembers the events it’s recreating it’s an odd beast to watch. The non-rugby stuff is great – Morgan Freeman is very fine as Mandela, and the film clearly draws the lines that existed at the time (slightly too bluntly, if you’ve read the book the film draws upon – John Carlin’s ‘Playing the Enemy – but it is a film, and a film aimed at an audience that knows very little about South African politics or rugby). But watching recreations of rugby matches that I remember watching, which try and avoid worrying about the complexity of the rules whilst simultaneously showcasing the physicality of the sport, featuring actors playing rubgy players who were amongst my heros at the time is so very odd. Matt Damon as Pienaar is actually the least odd, because he’s playing a character with an arc – but the other players are primarily background figures- and none of the actors looks any more like their real-life counterparts than Damon looks like Pienaar. Watching someone else playing Joel Stransky kick the winning drop goal when you remember watching Joel Stransky kick that goal very clearly is a bizarre mesh of life, art and nostalgia which does strange things to the Fourth Wall.


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