Saturday, January 3, 2009
Slumdog Millionaire: Review
The other day my daughter and I had a really fine lunch at a local museum. When we finished, she asked if I wanted a tic tac. (She might have been intimating that I had bad breath.) I said, no, I liked the leftover flavors in my mouth. I saw Slumdog Millionaireyesterday. My friends wanted to go see another movie today. And I said, no, I want to savor the leftover thoughts from Slumdog Millionaire. If you have not yet heard of this movie, you will. It is a Danny Boyle movie who was director of Trainspotting. From the first scene, it grabs you by the throat and doesn't let go. Jamal Malik is the slumdog, slang for anyone in India living in, well, the slums. The millionaire part? Jamal makes it onto the Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire. How do these two mesh? Jamal correctly answers the questions on the show not through intelligence or schooling (he lacks the latter) but through his life experiences. How does he know that a US $100 bill has Ben Franklin on it? Through a harrowing experience with men who run gangs of kids to beg and the boy they blind so that he can be a more sympathetic beggar. So, a question on the show is then answered in a flashback. The movie moves from brilliant color to deep darkness. From abject poverty to opulence. From love to lust. From charity to brutality. From humor to hopelessness. The cinematography is breathtaking with the sky views of the slums and the whirling closeups of dancers. The music is upbeat and hip hop. Believe it or not, it works with the movie. All of the actors are Indian (and fine actors they are) but the movie is in English. Stay for the credits. It is a fun tribute to Bollywood. Go see the movie. It's one you'll savor for days. Warning: The opening scene is difficult to watch. Rottentomatoes.com reviews: 94% positive.