Sunday, December 14, 2008

Review: Slumdog Millionaire

RATING: Highly recommend
ANALOGY: "City of God" meets "Forrest Gump" (the love story part, anyway)
SYNOPSIS (from Wikipedia): Based on the book "Q and A" by Vikas Swarup, the film, shot and set in India, follows a young street beggar who appears on a game show and exceeds people's expectations, raising suspicions from the game show host and law enforcement.
SOUNDTRACK: Yes. Score by A.R. Rahman. Also features the song "Paper Planes" by M.I.A., for which I now have a renewed appreciation.

REVIEW: This movie is getting Oscar buzz, and rightly so. It definitely will have a place in my list of top movies for 2008 (Note: list to come later; there are still a couple weeks left in 2008 and methinks "Benjamin Button" will earn a spot).

The story of slumdog Jamal Malik's lifelong journey to his appearance on the Indian version of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" is told through flashbacks relating to the questions on the game show, a remarkably effective plot device. Part of that has to do with the fantastic all-Indian cast, especially the young kids who play the main characters, brothers Jamal and Salim and friend Latika, who find themselves fighting to surive as orphans in Mumbai.

The other reason it works so well? Danny Boyle is a creative genius. The director employs the same kind of frenetic and intriguing camera work in "Slumdog Millionaire" that made "28 Days Later" so groundbreaking. He turns the setting of Mumbai, India, into its own character (all the more unsettling now, considering the terrorist attacks there a couple of weeks ago).

The film runs its audience through the emotional ringer -- from laugh-out-loud moments to gruesome violence to heartbreak to unbridled joy, all of which serve their purpose and add to the believable reality of the world we are drawn into for an intensely enjoyable two-plus hours.

1 comment:

  1. I'll just add this to the other million compelling reasons I heard to check out this movie. Le sigh.