Saturday, January 03, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire

Title: Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
Dir: Danny Boyle & Loveleen Tandan
Rating: **** out of 5 stars

Jamal was an orphan who grew up in the slums of Mumbai, India. After a childhood filled with terror and tragedy, the 18-year-old becomes a contestant on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? in an effort to reunite with a long-lost love, Latika. He wins an unprecedented amount of money, which prompts the police to believe he is a cheater and they grill him on how he did it.

Jamal tells his interrogators of his childhood, and through flashbacks we see that every question he was asked on the show somehow relates back to Jamal's past. Most of the memories are horrifying, but they gave him the answers he needed to win and therefore find his beloved Latika.

This is ultimately a film about love and destiny, which I am a sucker for. All the performances are top-notch, including the six young actors who portray the younger versions of the lead characters. A lot of the subject matter in their scenes is dark and violent, and these kids handle it with all the maturity of veteran thespians.

The story is beautifully told, and uplifting despite all the violence within. Boyle's directing is a bit hyperkinetic at times but overall effective and unique. The soundtrack, comprised of beautiful Indian music and M.I.A. songs, is also great.

I fear the hype surrounding this movie may have dampened its impact upon me. I thought it was great, but it's not the kind of film I'll still be thinking about months from now. But if you have not seen it yet, do get your ass to the theatre and check it out.