Gandhi manages to be a story that is inspirational, shocking, saddening and uplifting. It shows the complexities of politics, how the people in the colonies immediately began to fight each other after the English left and, most importantly, always treats Gandhi as a man – an extraordinary one maybe, but still a man.
The movie is also filled with scenes that underline that the times of the colonies aren’t as romantic and noble as a lot of movies often would like to present them. The scenes of the Amritsar massacre are a horrible reminder of the violence with which the colonial masters used to rule over the inhabitants of the countries. The almost never-ending fights against these colonial rulers are never shown in a way that tries to win the audience’s affection but Richard Attenborough constantly keeps a surprising distance to the events he presents and seems to focus more on the display of Gandhi’s life instead of personal comments.
Gandhi achieves to feel important without self-important. It’s an overwhelming epic in the tradition of the greatest work by David Lean – maybe more conventional but still fantastic.