Rated 3.0

Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) needs a way to bridge the seemingly insurmountable divide that separates South Africa’s blacks from whites after decades of apartheid. It is brought to his attention that, like the nation itself, its representatives on the field of rugby have an image problem. The blacks of the nation view the team as an ugly reminder of the past, and tend to root against them. So, Mandela calls in the team captain (Matt Damon) and tells him that, if the team members can get their act together and conduct themselves as a threat on the international stage, it would be just the unifying force that South Africa needs. As with most any sports movie, there’s never even a slight suspicion that in the final moments the home team might not win. Still, within the conventions of the drama director Clint Eastwood still manages to insert a couple moments of wry suspense. Ultimately, while Invictus plays out well as a better-than-average sports movie, there is still a certain amount of shallowness to the proceedings, as if made for people who need their messages spelled out for them. Paradise Cinema 7 and Tinseltown. Rated PG-13