Thursday, March 19, 2009

First look: Matt Damon in 'The Human Factor'

Here's your first look at Matt Damon as South African rugby team captain, Francois Pienaar. The Human Factor, directed by Clint Eastwood, is based on the true story of the relationship between Pienaar and Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) and how in his first term, Mandela used the Rugby World Cup to unite South Africa, a year after the end of apartheid.

Despite its prestige factor, I have my doubts. Hollywood has made only one truly honest film about Africa. That is not an exaggeration. Lord of War, despite Nicolas Cage's spectacular suckiness at times, is the only film about the continent that has managed to give its audience some semblance of the truth. I'm half Nigerian, so though many of these films turn out to be good, I've often felt that there is rarely any honesty. The films are designed for Western audiences, so given that, there is a desire to make Westerners and Europeans seem like the heroes in a dark and backward continent, fraught with danger and Africans viciously murdering each other.

I also worry about how the actors will do with the accents, but considering that Leonardo DiCaprio's accent was nearly flawless in Blood Diamond, that worry may turn out to be unfounded. So, despite my fears, I recognize that Eastwood is a brilliant director and I have a great deal of respect for Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon - therefore, I'll reserve judgment until I see the film.

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