May 18, 2010

Gandhi - 1982

Director: Richard Attenborough
Writer: John Briley
Starring: Ben Kingsley

"They may torture my body, break my bones, even kill me. Then they will have my dead body--not my obedience!" Richard Attenborough's epic details the life of Mohandas Gandhi (Kingsley) from his struggles against apartheid in South Africa in the 1890s to his eventual death at the hands of an assassin in 1948, with his tremendous acts to gain self-rule for the people of India.

The quality of this film is unquestionable, even though its 3:10 runtime makes for slow pacing at some points. I did end up learning a few things, such as the reason for Gandhi's hunger strikes (to encourage Indians to follow his example of nonviolence protest against the British) and the fact that leaders of anything, unofficial as he was, always need heavy security. It was a shame to lose someone like that, especially when the assassin was able to walk right up to him under the guise of being a loyal follower. The reason I chose to finally watch this movie now is because of the upcoming Prince of Persia adaptation. A bearded Jake Gyllenhaal plays the titular character of the film, complete with an accent that sounds vaguely British. I know I'm not alone when cross-racial casting like this occurs (another recent example would be M. Night Shyamalan's Last Airbender, and more than a few eyebrows were raise at Robert Downey Jr.'s portrayal of an Australian playing an African-American in Tropic Thunder). However, Ben Kingsley (in his film debut, no less) won one of the film's eight Academy Awards for his portrayal of the "great soul" (yes, I know he's Indian on his father's side, but he looks white).

Why is it that Ben Kingsley can portray a role like this so well, as well as such a wide variety of others, yet I look at Gyllenhaal and only see a British Donnie Darko or Jack Twist who hasn't shaved or cut his hair in a while?

No comments:

Post a Comment