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|Index||1035 reviews in total|
There has already been some talk coming from Telluride that this film
is set to be this year's 'Juno.' It does have the same distributor and
it is set for the same release period, and for anyone who hears this
buzz, they will definitely not be disappointed.
During the premiere of the final cut (in the words of director Danny Boyle) at the Toronto International Film Festival, the audience gave the film an incredibly enthusiastic response, and it went on to win the People's Choice Award. Boyle, who is somewhat like a British Richard Linklater for yet again surprising the audience with such diverse subject matter, worked his magic. He transcended genres and created a truly unique and energetic picture.
Just about every aspect of this film deserves merit, and above all it belongs to Boyle, who managed to assemble such a massive achievement. The score by A.R. Rahman, with contributions from M.I.A., perfectly accompanies the action on screen. Still, it is great enough to be listened to on its own. With India as a backdrop, Boyle and his cinematographer have composed some remarkable images. The acting is roundly impressive, especially coming from the younger cast, almost all of which has never acted before.
The film begins as Jamal (Skins' Dev Patel) is under interrogation by Mumbai police for cheating on India's version of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire, being only one question away from winning it all. As the inspector says, even doctors and lawyers cannot come close to the 20m rupee prize, and so Jamal, having grown up on the streets of Mumbai, cannot possibly know these things. As Jamal tries to avoid further torture, he begins to explain to the police how he knew each of the answers. Flashbacks present Jamal's boyhood and explain how he got to the show.
At the centre of his journey is his brother, Salim, and a girl, Latika, who is left a homeless orphan after an attack that took Jamal's mother as well. After running from a man who exploits the trio for labour, Jamal replays the incident when Latika left his life when she was unable to catch a moving train. His uncertainty of her fate on the streets of Mumbai and his intense desire to see his first and only love again lead him to the interrogation room where the film began.
Like 'Juno,' Slumdog Millionaire is by genre a comedic drama, but it becomes much more. The film asks questions about fate, righteousness, greed, and even urban sprawl. Above all, however, it asks about love in the face of the most dire obstacles, and if it can truly prosper. Jamal's story is a tragic and unfortunate one, but as seen through his eyes, it is still beautiful. The vast colour palate of India overwhelm any negative feelings, and Jamal's hope of finding and being with Latika overwhelm despair. For Jamal, 20m rupees isn't his prize. It would be nearly impossible for there to be a better picture this year.
Danny Boyle has come up with some interesting cinema, certainly
defining himself as someone above average. What he achieves in "Slumdog
Millionaire" is transcend the line between inspiration and a miracle,
awakening an emotional connection to the very special element great
cinema can deliver. The packages might have changed, and the contents
are more controversial and maybe a bit more tied to reality, certainly
taking us to an exotic local, teaching us that our world extends beyond
our freeway and limited perception of how more than the other half of
the world's population has to deal without certainly preaching to us.
The tale of two brothers' lives is told to us through episodic flashbacks tied to an episode of India's "Who Wants to be a millionaire?". At first, the story introduces one of the brothers as being the subject of a very strong interrogation to find out whether he is being truthful about some knowledge that might be relevant to the game. As he answers the questions, we discover that this young man's life story might be more interesting than we originally expected.
There is an element of freshness in the way the story is presented, as we accompany Jamal through his life odyssey from a young child in the slums to a man who is determined to save those he loves. There are some strong emotions in the film, and Boyle's direction keeps the film dynamic and engaging.
Prepare yourself to be overtaken by emotions as varied as joy, pity, happiness, anger, revulsion, surprise, and an exhilarating conclusion rarely seen in movies anymore. This film has made me grateful to be alive and that we still have people in cinema like Boyle who understands the power and beauty of the medium. He knows that the perfect mix of a great story and the respective imagery can provoke unforgettable memories in its audience.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Danny Boyle has been a favorite of mine since I saw Shallow Grave, since then he's gone on to make three masterpieces(Trainspotting,28 Days Later and Millions), a near perfect film(Sunshine) a guilty pleasure(The Beach) and a total miss(A Life Less Ordinary). Slumdog Millionaire comes out of nowhere and it could very well be his best film and one of the best films of the decade. Visually like Boyles previous work it's stunning, Apocalypse Now and City of God come to mind and there are dutch angles galore. The raw style mixed with the amazing locations make this film one of the most cinematic experiences you'll ever see. The Sound is perfect, I haven't heard audio like this in a while. This film needs a Sound Oscar nomination, it sounds that good. I went into seeing this knowing very little about it and the person I took with me didn't know anything about it, so I'll just say it's about a young man that goes on Indias Who Wants to be a Millionaire, it's a very unconventional film where they tell the story of his life in flashbacks while he plays the game. It's funny, sad, thrilling, basically a very enjoyable film that deserves numerous Oscar nominations. Also the lead actress is one of the most beautiful women I've ever seen, if she isn't a huge star after this I'd be extremely surprised. If the academy doesn't honor this film with numerous nominations it will be a shame but this film will be studied in 20 years and whoever sees this will love it, so even if it doesn't get a single nomination it won't matter. Don't miss this film, it's perfect!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I just saw this at the Savannah Film Festival (on Friday October 31st,
2008), held by the Savannah College Of Art and Design (SCAD) and as
soon as the credits started rolling for this movie the first word that
came out of my mouth was "WOW!!!" This movie is easily one of the best
of 2008, I honestly don't know how the people have given this movie a
average rating of 7 here on IMDb. This movie is the heart wrenching
tale of a person who has everything he ever loved taken away from him,
only to try with everything that he has to regain his true love and
gain more than he could ever hope. It is preformed and put together in
such a way that it forgets and bypasses every love story cliché. The
movie starts out a little confusing but is very quickly sorted out and
understood. Danny Boyle has made a film that inspires and encourages
people of all ages.
To summarize the deep and perfectly delivered message of this movie; you don't have to be a genius to know the answers in life, sometimes life is just written(whether you call it fate or destiny). This movie I'm sure will find its place amongst the great love movie's like "The Princess Bride", "Casablanca", and "Titanic". Some people I know have problems over the fact that this movie takes place in India, but if you just for one moment let go of that and watch this movie you will instantly find out just how amazing this movie is.
Even though I am writing this review now in November, I hope that you will read this review when the film comes out officially in January and go out and see it. BECAUSE WHETHER YOU GO INTO THAT THEATER ALONE; WITHOUT A GIRLFRIEND OR NOT, YOU WILL WALK OUT OF THAT THEATER INSPIRED, ENCOURAGED, HOPEFUL, BUT MOST OF ALL IN LOVE WITH THIS FILM.
For my closing statement I need to mention that recently this film got an undeserving "R" rating, but this is one movie you should not be ashamed to have your parents take you to see. And is the perfect movie to take a loved one to.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I also saw this film at to Toronto Film Festival. The audience gave it a well deserved standing ovation. This story is told seamlessly. The revealing look into the Mumbai slum is just one of the beautiful and terrifying story lines. The use of flashbacks to tell the story took you on a journey in time and culture. They used three sets of actors of three different ages to move the story. The use of the youngest actors (actually slum kids from Mumbai) stole the show. These kids were incredible showing both the beauty and the horrors of growing up in Bombay. And that's not to take away from the amazing performances of Freida, Dev, and the actor playing the older Saleem. There performances moved many to tears. See this movie it won't disappoint!
I won't see a better, more exhilarating movie this year than Danny
Boyle's "Slumdog Millionaire." If Academy voters have any sense, they
will nominate this for Best Picture and Best Director and then vote
overwhelmingly for it for both awards.
Boyle has taken what is essentially a story about a young man on India's version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" and transformed it into a gritty, realistic, powerful and, at times, gut-wrenching fairy tale. It's a Dickensian picture about a world rarely, if ever, seen in mainstream movies, a film that grabs us from the opening frame and doesn't let go until the credits roll at the end.
This is why I love movies. Films like "Slumdog Millionaire" are rare. They are things of beauty, works of art that make me fall in love with movies all over again. Boyle has done it twice. First with "Millions" (2004), which also, coincidentally, was about a young boy and money; and now with "Slumdog Millionaire."
This is Boyle's masterpiece - a stunningly original piece of film-making.
Every once in a while there is a sleeper film, usually an independent movie, that comes along, takes everyone by surprise, then gets terrific word of mouth and becomes a huge success. "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" (2002), "Little Miss Sunshine" (2006) - though I did not care much for it - and "Juno" (2007) are such films. But, frankly, those films can't hold a candle to "Slumdog Millionaire."
What might surprise many viewers is that a third of the dialogue is in Hindi. (And Boyle's placement of subtitles on the screen makes such good sense!) Please do not let that dissuade you from seeing this marvelous film. Do not let the R rating prevent you, either. What was the MPAA thinking? Honestly! There are far more offensive, vulgar and violent movies that are rated PG-13. "Slumdog Millionaire" should never have received an R rating. (This film should be mandatory viewing for young people, especially those in industrialized nations.)
Simon Beaufoy's script was originally entirely in English, but Boyle's decision to have the Indian kids speak in Hindi, instead, is the right call. Having the children speaking in their native tongue makes perfect sense, especially because Boyle and Beaufoy depicts the realism of the kids' lives.
That's what incredible about this film. Boyle and Beaufoy do not shy away from showing the squalor of Bombay. These kids live in deplorable conditions amid the grime, sewers and trash dumps of the slums. And, yet, thanks of Boyle true ingenuity, he creates uplifting and even humorous moments in the slums. There is one moment - and I shan't spoil it for anyone, but you will know it when you see it - that very well might be my favorite film moment in the last five years.
Boyle doesn't do a thing wrong here. From his choice of actors to the music to his choice of colors, Boyle works his magic.
The performances are uniformly good. Irrfan Khan finds the right balance between a tormentor and a quasi-father figure as the police officer. There's young Dev Patel as Jamal, playing with confidence, bringing a wonderful swagger to his role, as well as a sense of fear that we completely understand. Freida Pinto as the love interest is superb. And, of course, there are the three young 'uns. Perfectly cast, they actually make the film work. Their performances as Jamal, Salim and Latika are so utterly convincing that they completely draw us into the picture and make the jobs of the older actors playing them much easier.
"Slumdog Millionaire" is, I suppose, a dramatic comedy at heart. But it is also much more. It is a film about friendship, gratitude, love, betrayal, poverty and hope. It makes you laugh, weep and cheer as you can't help but marvel at Boyle's sheer genius.
The film moves along at a breakneck pace, yet none of the cinematic flair - and there is plenty - seems superfluous. Everything Boyle does, including the Bollywood touches, makes sense. There's such a brilliantly kinetic energy to this film that it is impossible not to be enthralled by it.
What Boyle has done is truly miraculous. He has turned a film about street life in Bombay into a visceral, genuine crowd-pleaser. And you will walk out of the movie theater feeling inspired and hopeful, knowing you've just seen something very special.
"Slumdog Millionaire" is not to be missed. It is the best movie of the year. And it is, without any doubt, one of the ten best films of the decade.
I FULLY AGREE that it is a good movie, no doubt about it, but it is
highly overrated. If u people like this, there are 100s of other Indian
Movies that are made much better than this(Both old and NEW). As for
Rahman's music, it is GREAT (again no doubt). But this is definitely
not his best. Pls go hear "dil se" and u'll know what i am talking
about! Compare this movie to previous Oscar winners like American
beauty, and well, u'll know wat i mean.
Verdict : To everyone who has still not seen the film, It's definitely a one time watch. Good music,Good story and Good (kind hearted if i may add) cast and crew. But i request you to watch it with an open mind. And by the way, Mumbai is not just a "slum area". :-)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The editing, digital cinematography, and Danny Boyle's direction (with
co-director Loveleen Tandan) create a fascinating aesthetic which is
perfect for the material. However, barely anyone (among the vast
minority of people and critics who didn't care for this massively
acclaimed film) is complaining about the film's technical virtues
however, so how about all that contrived, sappy melodrama?
To my surprise, "Slumdog Millionaire" is very tasteful in almost every respect. The romance scenes are either beautifully understated (most of the scenes with them as children/young teenagers, and a couple after that) or fantasy melodrama like much of the stuff near the end of the film (although the actual final pre-credit shot itself is again, a tender and beautiful moment). I have no issues with the fantasy melodrama however, because most of the film is done in that tone. Even the very realistic and brutally true-to-life scenes involving the raids of Muslim sections of the slums by Hindus, and the luring of children to a life of begging on the streets (for gangsters and criminals) in exchange for accommodation and food are done in a manner that is both tastefully evocative of reality while fitting in tone with much of the rest of the film, which has a more hopeful tone. It sounds improbable, but that's what the screenwriter and director(s) achieve here. The film doesn't strive for 'gritty realism', but everything in the film (yes, everything) is perfectly evocative of reality. The trouble with 'gritty realism' is that it often is gritty and hopeless in a way life rarely is to most of us, and is actually laughable if done wrong. Jamal's flashbacks to the begging end in misery, but before that we get the happiness and relief of slum life that these children felt. The raid is unrelentingly horrifying, but it is a haunting memory rather than something the film dwells on without stopping. The film also gives us scenes of comedic escapism which are still within the realm of plausibility as well.
If you don't know the general plot by now, here it is: Jamal is a boy from the slums of Mumbai who has reached the final question on "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" against all odds. The film, through a plot device I won't reveal even though it's only a mild spoiler, reveals the sources of Jamal's knowledge of the answers to each question (except for the ones he doesn't know and guesses at/uses the lifelines for) through flashbacks to him throughout his childhood and teenage years. Here enter the accusations of the film's supposedly 'hilarious', 'impossible', and 'dumb' contrivances. There's no way a chai wala knows the answers to those questions, and it's too convenient that he happens to have experienced something suitable for all those answers. I beg to differ. With a life like Jamal's (which is, believe it or not, being led right now by many children in India) I should hope that he gained at least that much knowledge. He didn't actually know the answers to every question, and on a game of both luck and knowledge it's entirely plausible to me that Jamal's game could actually happen. The only huge contrivance is the nature of the very last question and what happens when it's asked, but by then the movie had me in its grasp and the ploy worked. The fact that every member of the cast is absolutely excellent, including the child actors, doesn't hurt either.
It sounds odd, but "Slumdog Millionaire" seemed to me like it found a way to combine a realist look at India (and, according to the Indian person with whom I attended the film, it is absolutely spot-on in almost every regard, and certainly doesn't contradict anything I saw during my short visit to India) and a romantic melodrama. The end result, with the screenplay that combines the drama, comedy, and thriller genres to great effect, is both an aesthetic triumph, and unlikely as it sounds, a crowd-pleasing masterpiece. Also, the music is brilliant, both the original score by the legendary A.R. Rahman and the excellent choices made when it comes to the pop music included in the film (though that is to be expected from a Danny Boyle film). As for those moaning about the love story, perhaps you have not found that person yet, get back to me when you do.
This is an extraordinary film. From the original concept of the novel
on which it is based (Q&A by Vikas Swarup), the screenplay by Simon
Beaufoy (Full Monty) but especially the masterful creation and
direction of the film by Danny Boyle. From the opening moments until
the final scene, the audience was fully engaged. I was completely lost
in the world that Danny Boyle created. This is not a story that has
been told and retold, hashed and rehashed. It is fresh and engaging -
all at once quickly moving, romantic, violent, culturally insightful,
desperate and slightly fantastic. There are some comic elements to the
film but to describe it as a "comedy" seems inappropriate. The film was
shot on location in India, mostly in Mumbai. Slumdog Millionaire is yet
another testament to depth and range of Boyle's artistic talent who has
directed such diverse films as Shallow Grave, Trainspotting, 28 Days
Later and Sunshine.
I saw the film on at the 2008 Telluride Film Festival as a "sneak preview." The film was introduced by Boyle who said that the official opening of the film would be the next weekend at the Toronto Film Festival. He also said that there may be some final tweaking of the film prior to Toronto.
In the discussion after the film Boyle strongly recommended three Indian made films: Satya, Company and Black Friday. He described each as superb. Boyle also stated that a portion of the Slumdog Millionaire was shot with a Canon EOS still camera, especially around the Taj Mahal, rather than a proper movie camera which creates unwanted attention while filming at popular tourist locations in India.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Scenes of poverty and squalour may appear romantic to Westerners and to
our snooty elite but for ordinary Indians they are nothing new. They
are an everyday reality. However, one wonders what sort of mind can
find such images aesthetically pleasing. Party-hopping socialites (for
example, Shobhaa De after all her bombast of "enough is enough" after
the Mumbai attack, went and watched a pirated copy!) who are distanced
from such reality may find this film an "eye-opener" but for us it IS
just poverty-porn. Leaving that aside, I have eight other objections to
the film. 1) The director seems to RELISH showing violence. Some of it
(like the police-torture) is quite needless. And why was the boy
arrested in the first place? On what charge? Was it realistic? 2) How
can a boy growing up in slums speak such accented English? Even if one
assumes that the language he actually uses to communicate with the
game-show host and the police officer is Hindi (granting the director
the creative license to use a language better suited for international
audiences), there are 2 instances where it is stretched too far: (a)
when the boy becomes a 'guide' for foreign tourists at the Taj Mahal &
(b) when he becomes a substitute-operator at the call-centre. 3) When
the boy uses his 'lifeline' during the game-show, his friend discovers
that she has forgotten her mobile and has to run back for it. This is
plain Bollywood masala! Did the director HAVE to make it so
melodramatic? 4) How did the boy know who invented the revolver just by
watching his brother use it? How does his friend know about Benjamin
Franklin? 5) "Darshan Do Ghanshyam" is NOT written by Surdas. It is
written by Gopal Singh Nepali for the movie Narsi Bhagat (1957). This
song is also credited as traditional and originally written by 15th
century poet Narsi Mehta, whose life that film is based on. 6) After
winning the game-show, the boy sits on the railway platform and nobody
recognizes him! Considering the popularity of the show, is that
realistic? 7) Two glaring omissions: To qualify for the show one has to
answer several GK questions over phone or Internet. Even after making
it to the show, a contestant can reach the hot-seat, only after
"fastest finger first". All this is conveniently forgotten in the film.
8) And of course the greatest flaw in the storyline: programmes like
'Kaun Banega Crorepati' and 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire' are NOT
telecast live. As a result the entire structure of the film becomes
unrealistic. For a film that boasts of being realistic such a flaw
cannot be overlooked.
Anyone else wants to say this is a g-r-e-a-t film despite all these flaws?
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