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Thoughts on "Slumdog Millionaire" . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Monday, January 05, 2009

Worth Full-Price, Matinee or Rental: This film is good enough to pay full price, however, I would suggest a matinee, especially if the lack of "stars" concerns you.

Will I Own It On DVD: Possibly. If I had children, I would upgrade this to a likely purchase if the price was low enough, but even without them, if the mood struck me, I might buy it for future consideration.


1) "Slumdog Millionaire" was the second in my likely Oscar-nominated film run, and I was pleasantly surprised as this survival tale of love and family - set against the backdrop of the slums of India - was pretty damn stellar. Perhaps the most amazing feat of this film was its ability to somehow draw gut-wrenching tension from the Indian version of the dated game show "Who Wants to be a Millionaire."


2) The film uses the game show as a neat plot device to show the poverty-ridden life that three Indian children - Jamal, Salim and Latika - struggle to survive from early childhood. This journey takes them from the slums of Mumbai to Taj Majahal and back again, and it is this brutal odyssey that teaches Jamal many lessons which turn out to be applicable on the show.

3) Filmmaker Danny Boyle ("Trainspotting" and "28 Days Later") shoots the movie in his propulsive style where the camera never seems to stop moving. He generally eschews the completely empty flash of some of Guy Ritchie's films, and only occasionally goes over-the-top by trying to get too fancy a shot. As the film wears on, and the emotional toll increases, he also wisely allows the camera to linger for longer stretches, giving the film more weight and potency.

4) Boyle manages to capture both the beauty and the filth of India. The latter was somewhat amazing to me as it was incredible to see the amount of trash seemingly everywhere from the streets to bathing spots to wide open fields right in the cities simply bursting with garbage.

5) The cast of unknowns (at least to me) all perform very well, and this is no easy feat when you feature 3 actors playing the same characters from early childhood through becoming adults. Their ability to play the roles free from melodrama - even when horrible things are occurring around them - only make the challenges they encounter more dramatic and cause viewers to root even harder for them to succeed.


"Slumdog Millionaire" is a fine film, worthy of all the praise it has been receiving. It is well worth seeing, and also worth sticking around for the closing credits.

-BDS

12 comments

  1. Heff Says:
  2. Jeez, I haven't even heard a PEEP about this film.

    As always, I contribute nothing, lol !

     
  3. JLee Says:
  4. I keep hearing great things about this, so it's on my list. Our movie critic put it #2 on his top 10 list for 2008.

    word verification: rente
    (maybe this means I should rent it?)

     
  5. I keep hearing things about this one too. Perhaps I should go see it soon.

     
  6. nobich Says:
  7. I'm with Heff I've heard nothing at all about this film. But I've been so out of the loop anyway.
    Oh & Happy New Year!!

     
  8. Linda Says:
  9. I've seen this one twice and I'd see it again in a heartbeat. Loved it! Still have to see The Wrestler before I do my 2008 Top 10 list, but this will land in the top 3 for sure. Nice review, good points on the camera work. My favorite end credits of the year as well!

     
  10. Mr. DNA Says:
  11. Yeah, but is she hot?

     
  12. Heff - That's no big deal as this was a very small film that is just now getting more press/buzz because it will be up for several awards. But there's always DISH . . . Ha.

    Jlee - That could be a sign. Ha. This would be fine to rent as it shouldn't suffer much in the size reduction, but if you plan to see many Oscar pics, then I would put this one up there as being worth it.

    Native Minnow - I was in the same boat as I'd heard good things, but it still wasn't dragging me out to go see it. I'm glad I finally did.

    Nobich - Happy New Year to you as well, and it's just starting to get more notice which should only continue when the Oscar nominations are announced. It was pretty damn good.

    Linda - I was impressed as well, and you must have been since you've already been back to see it. Ha. And yes, you should probably give the Wrestler a go before compiling the list (though I'm very interested to see it).

    Mr. DNA - Yes. I found her very attractive - the adult version obviously. Ha.

     
  13. Boxer Says:
  14. Go see Gran Torino.

     
  15. Miss Ash Says:
  16. Hmmm well I did absolutely love Trainspotting so perhaps I will give this a go....along with the other 5 movies I want to see. I should make a resolution for that ha!

     
  17. Boxer - I will. It's just not open in Austin . . . yet.

    Miss Ash - I love 'Trainspotting' as well, and own it on DVD. You'll recognize the style here, but there are less drugs than that movie. Ha. And yes, you should add it to your resolution list for 2009. :)

     
  18. BostonPobble Says:
  19. Everything I've heard about this is it is brilliant. Thanks for the confirmation.

     
  20. Bostonpobble - No problem. I was pleasantly surprised by this film as it was better than I thought it might be (sometimes I worry when there are too many critical nods - ha).

     

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