Justin Chadwick's opportunely timed film on the life of Nelson Mandela, which was based on his self-titled autobiography, begins with his early years in a South African tribal village before relocating to Johannesburg where he quickly caught the attention of the African National Congress while working as an intelligent, upstart attorney. From there he met his militant wife Winnie while moving through the ranks of the ANC and, after witnessing no change towards his people under the grossly oppressive system of apartheid, decides upon the use of violence to further his cause. This choice will cost him 27 years behind bars and teach him the self-discipline necessary to lead his people, effect his release, and become both President of South Africa and a unifying international figure. Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is a rousing and moving biopic which sidesteps the trappings of its restrictive genre until it runs out of steam about halfway through and becomes the conventional, pious picture you hoped it wouldn't. Idris Elba delivers an indelible, quietly powerful performance that invests humanity in his character, partially by incorporating some of his flaws, a lot of which has been lost during sanctimonious discussions on the recently departed statesman. Unfortunately whenever the picture leaves him behind, which it does often beginning with his prison term, either Naomie Harris, who is disappointing as Winnie Mandela, or the montage sequences which detail historical concurrent ongoings, fail to carry the torch.