Friday, January 9, 2009

Review of Slumdog Millionaire



Slumdog Millionaire
****
Directed by Danny Boyle
Written by Simon Beaufoy
Starring Dev Patel, Freida Pinto, Anil Kapoor, and Irrfan Khan

Let’s be honest here. 2008, not so great on the films. The writer strike practically crippled the industry, as the audiences mostly got quickly produced films (I’m looking at you W.), or generic, cookie cutter films. In the summer, there was a bright light called The Dark Knight. Did it jumpstart the rest of the year in film? No. I didn’t unfortunately. The end of the year Is usually a blowout of the finest films of the year. But unlike 2007, where almost every film produced was a classic or close to a classic, this season isn’t generating the same hype as ‘07. Enter Slumdog Millionaire, an instant classic to spruce up the award season. I’ll be frank here: See it now. Do whatever you can to do to see this film. It’s probably 2008’s best film, and if this film doesn’t get an Oscar nod for Best Picture, I’ll eat my hat (Well, no. I won’t. I’ll just be really, really mad).
What is Slumdog Millionaire about? It’s about Jamal, a call center attendant who is also an orphan. He grew up in the slums Mumbai with his brother Salim (spoiler alert: he’s a douchebag). After an anti-Muslim raid in his slum, Jamal and Salim’s mother is killed, and they orphaned. Eventually they team up with Latika, an orphan girl. Skipping the details of their life, both disappearing from each other then finding each other again, Jamal ends up on the Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, and is one question away from winning the top prize. However, Jamal is accused of cheating after the taping of the first episode, and his life story unravels as he proves his innocence.
The plot seems pretty simple right? Over the years we’ve seen those underdog movies like Slumdog? But why is it so good?
It’s so good because Slumdog is a beautiful film about destiny. It’s not only an intense film going experience, with beautifully shot sequences and scenes, but the ultimate feel good film. It doesn’t toy or manipulate with our emotions or anything like that. It’s a human drama in the Dickensian sense. Matched with Danny Boyle potent direction, is Simon Beaufoy’s excellent adaptation of Vikas Swarup novel Q and A. The performers here are spectacular, even the child actor have made an impact on me (a rare thing to do in any person’s case).
Slumdog does not need much explanation really. It is not a headscratcher, but the simple plot still makes it a wonderful film. Anybody can love this movie. Even the regular movie lover can fall in love with it. Like I said before, see this movie. It’s a must see film, and don’t let that R rating fool you,. I wouldn’t necessarily make an 8-year old see it, but I can agree with a 10-year-old seeing it.
Films like this don’t come around like this easily. Especially in these tough times, Hollywood would make it easy to make a so-called “feel good” film. This isn’t just a feel good film, but a perfect film that celebrates the art of film. It’s a masterpiece. See it now, and you will feel like a millionaire.

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