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Monday, December 15, 2008

Find YOUR True Love In Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

Simply put, Danny Boyle’s latest film, Slumdog Millionaire, about a young man who ends up winning a game show in order to find his true love, is an enrapturing, exuberant experience unlike anything in the cinema this year (or in general).

This film has a pulse. Slumdog Millionaire is a living breathing entity and we hold onto it for dear life from the very first couple frames. Jamal and Salim, two orphaned brothers, outrace police and racial infighting. They manage to escape the evil underground of child enslavement and they find themselves swindling rich American tourists all before the age of twelve it seems.

And it’s all a day in the life for a slumdog like Jamal (played in his oldest form by newcomer Dev Patel). Underneath that overwhelmed exterior (while being tortured-either in the hot seat of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? or by Mumbai police officers) is a survivor, a boy who grew up in the streets making the most of what was within his grasp.

But outside his reach is Latika, a girl who has crisscrossed in and out of his life so much that they simply must be meant for each other. We know that it is written, but I don’t think anyone in the audience really cares. I never have felt as much joy as when the two lovers finally get their chance to be together.

Danny Boyle once again proves he can take any established genre, (Horror, Sci-Fi, or children’s film) and in this case Bollywood, and transcend the established tropes while simultaneously honoring them. Trust me, stay for the credits, it isn’t the same movie without them.

What I look most about the movie is how every element explosively intertwines in service of the story. Chris Dickens editing style matches the chaotic, but defining nature of this modern day fairy tale. A.R. Rahman’s score assisted by Sri-Lankan rapper M.I.A. really capture the postmodern spirit of India today borrowing from traditional themes while injecting it with modern day pacing. Anthony Dod Mantle’s exhaustive cinematography is rough around the edges, but very precise at capturing all the details.

Some scholarly folks may be thinking, “OMG liek Danny Boyle is British, how can he reflect the day to day hustle of Indian folks?” Fact. This film is not as overly sentimental as some critics argue. This criticism originates from thinking that in order to be happy one must grow up in a white suburban neighborhood or have a lot of money. The reason that Slumdog Millionaire finds so much joy is because Jamal, Salim and Latika have gone through so damn much. This film deals with some truly tragic issues, but Danny Boyle and screenwriter Simon Beaufoy capture the hope that ultimately shines through.

Seriously folks, Slumdog Millionaire is one hell of a movie, why haven’t you seen it already?


Slumdog Millionaire on IMDB

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