Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Best Actor 1982: Ben Kingsley in Gandhi

Ben Kingsley won his Oscar from his first nomination for portraying Mohatma Gandhi in Gandhi.

Gandhi I think is a fairly simple biography that really does just follow the man through his life events. I personally prefer a little more. I can read a book on  a completely straight and positive biography, I think there is something lacking in terms of cinematic quality of the film for me anyways. It is not bad, but I actually would rather read a biography of Gandhi than watch the film.

Ben Kingsley portrays Gandhi, and he seemed to have been the perfect choice for Gandhi. I never doubted his portrayal for a single moment as Gandhi. I never thought he was portraying the part in a false or unrealisitc fashion. He always just simply seems to be Gandhi no matter what phase of his life from his young days as a lawyer to his final days. He always seems to be Gandhi, which is quite a feat in itself due to notoriety of Gandhi. It would easy to see faults in his portrayal but he simply has none in being completely Gandhi as a man. At every age he is just as believable, his voice changes adjustments are always completely natural and always are true, also his body language is equally correct. All of his motions from the way he sits and lies, stands in an inward fashion and holds his neck, all seem accurate to the man, and never seem to be calculated Kingsley part just natural.

The portrayal of Gandhi is actually rather complicated early on showing a different side from the usual popular view of Gandhi. A little different side where Kingsley really excels in the role, because the somewhat rougher side and very different side of Gandhi from the man he becomes is well shown by Kingsley because he shows this other aspect of Gandhi showing more to the man without making who he eventually becomes a unnatural transition. Kingsley makes two scenes incredibly interesting showing more depth of Gandhi in his first scene when he does not wish to give up his seat, his reactions are perfectly shown by Kingsley, than later when he wishes to force his wife to clean the toilets. Again it shows a rougher side of Gandhi, and Kingsley handles the scene perfectly.

After his initial scenes though Kingsley becomes the well known image of Gandhi. The guy who knows precisely who is what he stands for, and only wants freedom and peace. The transition to this Gandhi is a rather fast one, I will say, but Kingsley handles it well so it is not at all disconcerting or sudden. Gandhi does mostly just does move for peace and freedom in India for the rest of the film through his speeches, marches, and hunger strikes. Kingsley is incredibly good actually, even if Gandhi becomes a somewhat simple although not a one dimensional character.

Kingsley throughout the rest of the film has this certain quiet power and passion in every way. Much of his performance actually is in small very small, and very poignant reactions shown through the face of Gandhi. He never is loud, but incredibly powerful which is a truly amazing achievement by Kingsley. The role is an incredible challenge even if it seems somewhat simple on the outside due to Gandhi being presented completely positive for most the film. Gandhi is a larger than life figure, and a well known figure, Kingsley is able to be both without visible effort which is what makes this a great character.


Sage Slowdive said...

I agree -- the perfect rating.

dinasztie said...

I also agree with the rating and your review.

I hope that Hoffman is your pick.