Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Unacurry.

1982, UK / India
Richard Attenborough

Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi is an almost legendary film, and rightly so. One of the greatest men in history, the filmed version of Mohandas Gandhi’s life, propelled by an Oscar-winning performance by Ben Kingsley, is a powerful piece of filmmaking. Throughout his life, Gandhi battled institutionalized injustice and racism in South Africa and India, eventually winning Indian independence from Britain. And he did all this through non-violent resistance, resulting in a life story, and a film, that is truly astounding. Ly boring. I meant to add that on the end of the last sentence, but I get tired even thinking about the 3 hours of this movie. Yes, yes, I know, Gandhi was an incredible man, Kingsley is an incredible actor, but pacifism take sooooo long to get anywhere. And I’m pretty sure that tactic would only work for Gandhi, probably because he looked kind of like E.T., and therefore instantly endearing. On the flip side of the coin, if you attack your government using actual violence instead of squatting on the ground and refusing to move, you often get to wear a cape and cool mask, and sometimes star in a dystopian Frank Miller comic book. And in a cultural climate based on image instead of message, Gandhi’s going to need to update his style if he wants to stay relevant and off of Mr. Blackwell’s catty fashion list. Instead of us learning from Gandhi, Gandhi should learn from these legendary and historical anti-government combatants.

Gandhi and child actor Henry Thomas.

1. Green Arrow. In The Dark Knight Returns, Oliver Queen has one arm, one bulging eye, and looks like something a crazy man would doodle in his own feces after wriggling out of a straightjacket. Way cooler than a shriveled Indian.

2. Osama Bin Ladin. A seven-foot tall, unimaginably rich evil-doer who lives in a network of caves and underground bunkers. If he had metal teeth or a golden hand, he’d be perfect Bond villain.

Egyptian doctor Ayman al-Zawahiri, bin Laden's second in command.

3. Timothy Kasczinsky, the Unabomber. In a sweatshirt and sunglasses, he didn’t cut a very imposing figure, but he’s still more dramatic than Gandhi’s California Raisin look.

So, while I appreciate the moral lesson taught here, I think it needs some updating for the modern world. Or at least a better costume.


Anonymous Scott said...

Ah, the memories. Your review reminds me of the time back in the day when our junior high school class was forced to see this at the mall. Thankfully, "Blade Runner" was showing on another screen and I managed to sneak over before hour two of "Gandhi."

3:03 p.m.  
Blogger Fatman said...

The problem with casting Ben Kigsley as Gandhi is that he does it too well. Cast Stallone or even John Wayne. Or heck even Jackie Chan. They'd freakin' win! And, for the bored cinema goers, they'd be a nice musical number to end the film with heaps of bikini babes.

3:28 a.m.  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...

Uh, they'd win what?

Scott - essentially, Blade Runner shares many of the thematic elements of Gandhi: the struggle for freedom, the power of revolution, and robots.

5:25 p.m.  
Blogger melinama said...

We saw this back when the local rental store stocked VCR tapes. We should have known better when we had to rewind it from about 1/3 of the way through the tape. I fell asleep rather shortly. Woke, fell asleep, woke, and finally we turned the damn thing off. At least we rewound it before we took it back.

5:18 p.m.  
Blogger Fatman said...

Ash- Win everything. Gaining freedom from England was just the tip of the iceberg. Quit India was pretty successful but the aftermath- the conflict between India and Pakistan- continue to this day. I do not think that Gandhi died a happy man...not that assasinated people tend to be. A Gandhi played by Jackie Chan would have dealt a swift roundhouse kick to Nathuram Godse and settled the India/Pakistan thing once and for all. Followed by Gandhi enjoying a juicy steak and in the company of babes. That's how my movie would end. But maybe I just don't understand his non-violent, vegetarian, brahmacharya (yes, I had to look that up) ways.

2:06 a.m.  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...

Melinama - the film can be captivating if you know nothing about Gandhi. However, if you do, you know exactly where the film is going to go, which is sitting cross-legged in front of buildings and lying down on mats not eating.

Fatman - I believe you're thinking of Chuck Norris. I like how you put way more effort into your comments here, with links and whatnot, than I do in my actual reviews. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

10:06 a.m.  
Anonymous the irritating little tick said...

british films are a murderous abomination, and they must be destroyed NOW !!!, (and that idiotic ringleader richard attenborough should be burned at the stake, for his crimes against the medium of the moving image !!!).

1:11 p.m.  

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