Monday, December 22, 2008

Slumdog Millionaire

I loved Slumdog Millionaire but I don’t know if I can explain it in any way that does it justice. If I was writing a logline I would have to say that Slumdog Millionaire is City of God with a happy ending.

To put it in a simple nutshell the main character goes on the Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire and is one question away from winning 20 million rupees and saving the girl of his dreams and the film flashes back and forth between preset and past to explain how Jamal got there and the mob and the police are involved as well. The mob because Jamals brother Salim has pulled himself out of the slums and into the mob and the girl of Jamal’s dreams Latika because she is the mob bosses girl and the police because Jamal is accused of cheating on the show because no one believes there could be another way for a “slumdog” like Jamal to get that far on the show.

The film is effervescent, colorful, engaging, and absolutely one of the most surprising films of the year. While I don’t believe that Slumdog Millionaire is the best movie of the year I do believe that it deserves the critical acclaim it has been getting and is worthy of a wide audience. Slumdog Millionaire is a powerful depiction of the life of this orphan in India and shows so well what happens to his life because of circumstances in and out of his control.

One thing that I found out about this movie amazes me. Danny Boyle shared the directing credit by listing Loveleen Tandan as co-director. Loveleen began as the casting director for the film and Boyle convinced her to stay around for production and as he learned how much she knew about India, the actors, etc. he used her more and more until she took charge of the second unit and finally Boyle decided she was the co-director of the film. I think that is a brave thing for Boyle to do and I love that he didn’t let ego get in the way of him giving credit where he felt it was deserved.

For fans of Danny Boyle it is very important that you stay through the end credits as you will love seeing the Bollywood sequence – and you never expected something that poppy to come out of the man that made Trainspotting.

Director: Danny Boyle
Co-Director: Loveleen Tandan
Writer: Simon Beaufoy
Jamal: Dev Patel
Middle Jamal: Tanya Chheda
Youngest Jamal: Ayush Mahesh Agrawal
Salim: Madhur Mittal
Middle Salim: Ashutosh Lobo Gajiwala
Youngest Salim: Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail
Latika: Freida Pinto
Youngest Latika: Rubiana Ali

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