Director: Danny Boyle
Cast: Dev Patel, Madhur Mittal, Freida Pinto, Anil Kapoor, Irrfan Khan
RunTime: 2 hrs
Released By: GV
Rating: NC-16 (Some Coarse Language)
Official Website: FoxSearchlight.com/SlumdogMillionaire
Day: 12 February 2009
Soundtrack: Our Review of the official "Slumdog Millionaire" Movie Soundtrack
"Slumdog Millionaire" is the story of Jamal Malik, an 18 year-old orphan from the slums of Mumbai, who is about to experience the biggest day of his life. With the whole nation watching, he is just one question away from winning a staggering 20 million rupees on India's "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?"
But when the show breaks for the night, police arrest him on suspicion of cheating; how could a street kid know so much? Desperate to prove his innocence, Jamal tells the story of his life in the slum where he and his brother grew up, of their adventures together on the road, of vicious encounters with local gangs, and of Latika, the girl he loved and lost. Each chapter of his story reveals the key to the answer to one of the game show's questions.
Intrigued by Jamal's story, the jaded Police Inspector begins to wonder what a young man with no apparent desire for riches is really doing on this game show?
When the new day dawns and Jamal returns to answer the final question, the Inspector and sixty million viewers are about to find out...
So 2009 isn’t going to be the happiest year in recent memory. It is only February now, but with the global economy looking bad, the discouraging unemployment rates going up and possibly other obligatory matters of the heart, you’d probably be welcoming this Cinderella fairy tale which celebrates the human spirit and how things in life can really have happy endings. Which is also why, there is this tinge of melancholic vulnerability when this reviewer stepped out of the cinema after watching English director Danny Boyle’s latest work.
You probably have already heard a lot of how this small (that is, at least by Hollywood standards) movie has been charming critics everywhere, and are anticipating to be swept off your feet by taking that ride with the movie’s underdog protagonist. Good news – this 120 minute picture is one exhilarating cinematic experience that everyone will embrace. And it’s definitely a film you’d want to watch in this troubled times, simply because it offers hope, though the extent is dependent on how cynical your worldview is.
Do you really believe that it is destiny which made an 18 year old boy who has no education intelligent enough to answer all the questions correctly on the game show “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire”? Do you really believe it is destiny that brought this Mumbai raised boy together with the girl of his dreams? Do you really believe that it is destiny that it is destiny which allowed this boy to survive one ordeal after another in the slum he grew up in, before becoming an overnight celebrity after the police suspect him of cheating on the game show?
Most importantly, do you believe that this may actually happen to you? And that you’d be 20 million rupees (for the record, that’s $615,000 Singapore dollars) richer because of Destiny (with the capital “D”!), and live happily ever after? Probably not, but this movie is all about feeling good, so the review shall not go on playing Scrooge with you.
Other than the movie’s conveniently but delightfully crafted storyline, this movie has other sure win ingredients which will have you smiling throughout its 2 hour runtime.
First, bring on the adorably engaging child actors. How can anyone resist their angelic smiles? How can anyone not wish that they had such happy memories with lots of friends running around chasing Bollywood movie stars and running away from gangsters?
Second, bring on the eclectic soundtrack helmed by Bollywood scoring auteur A. R. Rahman (Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Water). How can anyone not enjoy the fusion of techno and hip hop Oscar nominated original score? How can anyone resist rejoicing with the cast members during the opening and closing numbers “O… Saya” and “Jai Ho”, both of which are nominees in the Best Original Song category at the upcoming 81st Academy Awards?
Third, bring on the eye catching cinematography that makes India look astonishingly stunning on screen. Anthony Dod Mantle (The Last King of Scotland, Manderlay). The vibrant colors and bursting energies of this finely produced movie are translated wonderfully under Mantle’s lenses – how can you not sit up and look at the inventively composed shots that are plentiful throughout the movie? How can you not be impressed by the creatively placed English subtitles during the 20 per cent of the movie which is in Hindi?
Boyle has done it with this very accessible movie about India (note that it is not an Indian film, before you get all upset with academic notions like exoticism and exploitation). The storytelling is powerful, and the captivating visuals complement that excellently. As with Millions (2004), there will be tears of joy from viewers when the movie ends. So don’t mind all the controversies and bad press about this movie – one thing for sure, this movie adaptation of Vikas Swarup’s Boeke Prize winning and Commonwealth Writers' Prize nominated novel “Q and A” will go down movie history as one of the best rags to riches story ever told.
(A timely cinematic experience that will dazzle every bit of your senses)
Review by John Li