Best Picture #55
Directed by: Richard Attenborough
Starring: Ben Kingsley
In 1948, an important man, very loved by India, and a revolutionary independent leader, was assassinated at gunpoint. His name was Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.
Truth be told, I've only known of Gandhi by name, face and the single important fact that my dad has always brought up in a conversation about the man: fasting for peace. At a run of three hours, the performance alone by Ben Kingsley makes this lengthy biopic a walk in the park. One of the most intimate movies for the eyes to see and director/actor Richard Attenborough, the same man who brought the dinosaurs back to life in Jurassic Park as the character John Hammond, capture every available moment in perfect detail.
Think of the role as type cast or just an ideal career choice. Ben Kingsley has had numerous roles in his career but his masterpiece will forever be Gandhi. Only one man could have changed the course of history with pacifism and only one man could ever embody such an iconic person. Enough verbal praise to get my point across to explain a perfect performance and one of the very best biopics of all time, if not the best. Its hard to belief that one man's path to equality amongst humans all started because he was kicked off a train. While this lengthy production is easily carried by a single performance, you get a history lesson that 4 chapters in your social studies book can't fathom in your education. You get a taste of Indian culture, the importance of their religion, and just how far the human soul goes to achieve peace. At first it started wit ha handful of dedicated followers with the inspiration of one man, and an entire nation thus emerges from the shadows of their shyness, fear and intimidation.
Gandhi presents its viewers with an overwhelming cast of God knows how many individuals. You see a good amount of familiar faces, like Michael Sheen, the American journalist who helped spread the story to the west. Like Lawrence of Arabia and Titanic, if you have faith in the production, the results will be in the riches. One scene that has hurt me the most, in a good way, was when the salt workers attempted to enter the British owned salt mines (or however you call them) when they were banned to enter. It is a clear example of Gandhi's pacifism, as they march in the hundreds, maybe thousands, in rows of 5-7 and are assaulted one row at a time with bone crushing sticks. This is where cinematography, make up, sound and special effects come into play in the most beautiful form. I welcome the technological advances in the digital age of cinema, but this was pure film era still, and for an 80's film, breathtaking execution with no flaws. You can say "That's all they could do back then" but as a filmmaker, if you put your heart into it, there are no limits.
Gandhi is a rare film that will be forever timeless and a classic. It's almost perfect. If you haven't seen it yet, my friend, you are missing a treat and a feast for the eyes. Overall, a magnificent epic story.
Written by: Bawnian©-Dexeus.