Someone at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is deserving of heaps of praise. On February 17, Sony is releasing onto Blu-ray for the first time ever Kramer vs. Kramer, Gandhi, and a double-feature with Capote and In Cold Blood. All four films have won multiple awards, including being able to count 13 Oscars between them. The names that appear among the discs is equally impressive, including among others: Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ben Kingsley, Richard Attenborough, Richard Brooks, and Quincy Jones. Plus, each disc looks outstanding.
Outside of them each being classic, award-winning, character-driven films, the titles themselves seem to have little in common. Gandhi focuses itself on one of the greatest men of the 20th Century, whereas In Cold Blood is focused on, perhaps, some of the worst. Capote examines the troubles of one of the most well-known writers of his day and Kramer vs. Kramer is the story of an average guy just trying to do his best.
Capote is the story of Truman Capote's writing and researching In Cold Blood. Released in 2005, the movie features Philip Seymour Hoffman as the titular character (a role for which he won an Academy Award). The portrayal is a "warts and all" look at one of the most talented writers of his day, a man who had little problem standing in the spotlight and, in this case, playing with the progression of a court case in order to suit his own purpose. It is Hoffman's portrayal of the man that makes the film captivating, and makes us case for a man who did some highly unlikable things.
Also a biopic, though one with an entirely different scope, Gandhi attempts to tell the story of a man who not only influenced the course of one nation, but several. As presented, Gandhi's vision of the world and what it could and should be is one of love and wisdom and something that we should all strive for. It is a much more glossy look at Gandhi's life than one Capote puts forth about its title character. Gandhi is shown in the movie to have faults, but the film centers itself on all the good the man did over the course of his life.
As Gandhi, Ben Kingsley shines, giving perhaps the best performance of any of the actors in these four pieces. The extent to which Kingsley embodies the man he is portraying is astounding. After watching the film, one is practically convinced that what they have just seen is Gandhi. The film itself manages to be both an incredibly large story about the progression towards nationhood of India, but also an intimate look at one of the largest driving factors behind that progression. Though he worked with a limited budget, Attenborough manages to bring the massive scope of what Gandhi did and how to life.