← Back to Reviews
\
#77 - Gandhi
Richard Attenborough, 1982



Chronicles the life of Mohandas Gandhi, from his beginnings as a lawyer in 19th-century South Africa through to his becoming an influential figure in the liberation of India from the British Empire.

You ever wonder if it's possible to get tired of good movies? Powering through this many Best Picture winners in so short a time might be leaving me a little fatigued by the looks of things. It gets to the point that I approach each new film with a little skepticism. Gandhi had some of that, because I was aware that Gandhi, despite his reputation as an influential pacifist and leader, still had his fair share of extremely unfortunate flaws and those were at the back of my mind for this film's considerable running time. The film even begins with a disclaimer that admits that the film is an abridged account dedicated to conveying the spirit of the man rather than the man himself, and in that regard, it does work.

As befitting a story spanning several decades and multiple countries, the technical skill on display is competent and the scenes it captures are memorable. Ben Kingsley delivers an effective performance, even if it is hampered slightly by all-too-familiar biopic tropes. There's a good supporting cast that largely serve as either foils or obstacles to Gandhi's journey. There are also some striking setpieces on display. With a supposedly glowing review like this, you might wonder why I'm giving it the rating I'm giving it. Well, maybe it's because I'm not sure it really needed to be a whole three hours and that certain plot devices draw unnecessary attention to themselves - such as the inclusion of white American journalists played by name actors like Martin Sheen and Candice Bergen seem a little distracting and studio-mandated - but hell, it's a good enough movie and I'll definitely return to it at some point.