Fight Club: “Gandhi” and “Warrior”
If you beat your child, they might turn out to be a serial killer — or at least a bastard. It is improbable that they will be another Gandhi, though the movie Gandhi (1982) is vague in its instructions on how to create your own nonviolent saint. However, the mixed martial arts masterpiece Warrior (2011) offers some insight into fashioning a ferocious man-animal of a son who is just as likely to kill a man as he is to save him. Just drink lots of booze, and be a Nick Nolte-sized mess (or literally Nick Nolte, as in the case of Warrior).
In Warrior, two brothers battle their father (Nolte) and their own personal demons while in the midst of a mixed martial arts tournament. It is apparent that these two broken men have been fashioned into perfect killing machines by their negligent father. Look at this fight scene involving the most damaged brother, Tommy:
Tommy’s own inner turmoil from childhood has transformed him into an emotionally explosive murderer, and as noted by the announcers, he would be a criminal if he did this on the street. Like a wild animal, Tommy doesn’t wait for the result of the fight, and instead bolts out of the ring. Although, the mistreatment he has endured has molded Tommy into a perfect warrior, he isn’t interested in saving the world — just destroying it. He is frail and angry, and very human.
Ben Kingsley’s Gandhi, on the other hand, is like the living embodiment of God in human form. Modeling himself after Christ and other spiritual leaders, Gandhi wages war against the British Empire, but does it with nonviolent resistance and love in his heart. In this below scene, Gandhi seems like one of us…for a second.
I guess he is human after all — at least, according to his wife. Notice the way he stifles his emotions at the end of this scene and robotically apologizes to his wife. This is Gandhi’s lone outburst throughout the movie. Unlike Tommy in Warrior, all of his emotions are directed inward and controlled. Where Warrior explores the past and show the conditions that have led to Tommy’s anger, Gandhi offers no insight into what past might have created such a perfect passive warrior. Most likely, Gandhi was just a man like any other, and due to reverence and history he has been built up to sainthood. Watch this video from a less-than-flattering news source:
And I thought they just did magic tricks — I didn’t realize they were well-regarded historians. Regardless of how you felt about Gandhi, he achieved the incredible: destroying an empire with civil disobedience and nonviolence. Watching Gandhi and the Warrior together, it is hard not to notice the unlimited potential of humans to affect change, to go to war against injustice, and to battle their demons to the end.