"Whilk," said my PE teacher, "you hardly seem to be playing rugby at all. You just wander around the field like some nomad who's lost his camel."
I venture this autobiographical self-indulgence only to demonstrate that you really, really don't need to be a sports fan to enjoy this extraordinary film. What it's fundamentally about is the great Nelson Mandela, and how, released from a quarter-century's imprisonment to save his country from the septic trauma of apartheid, he saw how the Springboks might help to heal South Africa's terrible injury.
The invaluable Matt Damon, surely as reliable a star as any, gives a powerfully eloquent performance as the Springboks' much-burdened captain, but the film is dominated by Morgan Freeman's masterly portrait of the president. A more perfect conjunction of actor and role it's difficult to imagine: this, I feel, is the part Morgan was born to play. The rest of the huge cast is without a weak link, and Clint Eastwood's direction is as assured as I've come to expect, whether capturing minute nuances of character, putting us amidst the violent drama of the rugby pitch, showing us the beauty of Table Mountain and the poverty of a shanty town or celebrating the splendour of a crowd of sixty thousand in an ecstasy of patriotic fervour.
Warner Brothers have done a fine job of preparing their film for blu-ray. Although the picture doesn't quite match the startling sharpness of the very best demonstration discs, neither does it have any grungy grain to complain about, and the audio gives an equally good account of some magnificent music and the thuds and roars of rugby action. The extras are very generous.
This is, I think, as uplifting a film as I can remember. The tale of Mandela's heroism, wisdom and magnanimity is surely one of the most inspiring of our era. I doubt whether anyone could reach the closing credits of this disc without feeling very, very lucky to have watched it.