When I started to compile the list of Best Picture winners I never watched, I will admit I dreaded the really long ones, like Gandhi, which came out the year I was born (1982) and clocks in 3:11 long.
As crazy as this following statement may sound, I found Gandhi to be fascinating. It was educational, if anything else. Growing up in America, they always showcase early America’s struggle to break free from British rule and slaves fighting for their freedoms for over a century. So to watch Gandhi lead the country of India to their freedom from British rule was eye-opening.
I’ve always been interested in history, and Gandhi (Ben Kingsley) has always been a name you stumble across when you flip through textbooks. I never took the time to learn about his life, yet all I needed to do was watch this film. I know this long story probably glossed over many things, but if you wanted to know anything about this historical man, it’s all there for you to soak in.
This film is slow, boring, and driven by dialogue, which is all those things, but it was informative. It was amazing how time Gandhi spent in jail yet showed up when he could to promote freedom without violence. He was a man who believed that peaceful freedom could be achieved without bloodshed. That the people of India could take care of themselves and needed the freedom to give it a go.
Kingsley was brilliant in this role, which netted him an Academy Award for Best Actor. I’ve enjoyed him in so many other roles, knowing he’s fondly remembered for this one. Gandhi was a massive success collecting eight Awards, which keeps the film in the top ten for most awards.
Gandhi is quite long and covers a lot of material, all of which happened at the turn of the century. The part that will probably always stick with me is right before the intermission when a British battalion gun down a peaceful protest. The captain ordered his men to fire on everyone, women and children included, and empty all the ammunition they brought. After the events, which killed over a thousand people, the Captain couldn’t believe he was on trial for his actions. It was appalling and really striking that someone would be so cocky. I didn’t bother to look up whatever happened to that leader; I just hoped for the worse. Those moments really showcased the dark side of humanity. 6/10