Slumdog Millionaire (2008) Poster

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It is written?
tieman6418 February 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Jamal, Salim and Latika, three abnormally cute little kids, live in the Dharavi slums of India. Jamal is a dreamer, proud of his signed photograph of Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan. Salim's a pragmatist. He sells Jamal's picture - the photo epitomizing Jamal's fantasies of upward mobility - for money. Latika sits between them. She's the female trophy who exists to either be corrupted by Salim or saved from the slums by Jamal's undying love.

Directed by Danny Boyle, "Slumdog Millionaire" tells a familiar "rags to riches" tale. Its first act consists of several brief anecdotes, Boyle fetishizing the Dharavi slums, portraying poverty as a carnival of colours and soul-deadening action. Shot with the same over-saturation and hand-held work that made the slums of "City of God" and "The Constant Gardener" problematic, Boyle treats poverty as a MTV video.

Of course it's not all fun and games. Mothers die, eyes are gorged out and child traffickers run rampant, but the film glosses over such matters, using them instead for tactical shocks and easy jolts. The reason these scenes, despite their inherent darkness, seem so trite, is because Boyle tries to have it both ways. "Millionaire", regardless of its social probing, is essentially a fantasy. It's a Cinderella story, our heroes rising above the slums by the sheer force of love and destiny, brought together on the set of a television game show, the power of pop culture lifting their dirty bodies from the filth and grime of Dharavi.

We're expected to believe that children are harvested and abused, yet we're also expected to believe in magical happy endings where everything works out. Boyle wants the gravitas of a child watching his mother murdered, but he also wants the expired movie clichés central to a Disney love story.

Toward the end of the film, a gangster cuts Latika's face with a knife. The resultant scar epitomizes "Millionaire". On the surface, we think we're looking at something "real", something "violent". But look closer and see how carefully placed and artfully directed that scar is. It's a single clean cut, perfectly framing the actress's face. It's not an ugly scar. It doesn't protrude or ruin her symmetry. In no way does it obscure her beauty. So while the initial impression is one of shock or even sympathy, the fraud is that it's carefully designed to be pretty. To be easy on the eyes and head. Contrast this with the Indian kids in 2004's "Red Light Kids" or with how the prostitutes are treated in "Unforgiven". It's not pretty when a woman is cut up. Boyle's film is one where he's not being honest about the situation, and the responsibility is on the audience not to think twice.

Worse still is the film's reliance on destiny. What engenders Boyle's happy ending is the underdog's pure heroism, an egotistical lottery mentality, a belief in destiny, and the prodigal brother's heroic martyrdom. Indeed, Salim exists solely to do the dirty work of killing the bad guys so as not to interfere with the moral purity of Jamal. At the same time, it's hard to believe that anything really matters when everything in the film is simply working according to destiny. Apparently it's destined that all the other slum dwellers (who can't get onto a TV game show) continue to live a life of poverty.

The film ends with all of rural India celebrating Jamal's victory as though it were their own triumph. The fact that "one of their own" has become rich elicits an outburst of joy. And this is the film's ideology: anybody can rise out of misery, if they are pure of heart and chosen by fate. Jamal is plucked arbitrarily out of the masses as a symbol. He is a celebration of the culture of the dice, the casino, the lucky ticket.

And so the film ends with a "happily ever after". Our boy and girl embrace before the film erupts into a happy song and dance routine. It's all quite silly. But perhaps Danny Boyle is being ironic, deconstructing the fantasy image and poking fun at Bollywood's avoidance of truth? Or am I watching too much Altman? With this view mind, I gave the film another look. How straight is Boyle playing things?

Consider this: the film travels from the "reality" of poverty to the artificial world of TV sets, Bollywood shenanigans and big money. The narrative then self-destructs, essentially becoming a thoughtless Bollywood dance movie. Brilliant still, the film ends with the line "D: It is written", an allusion to fate, but also implying perhaps that the story is itself fabricated, a screenplay and so profoundly false. Better yet, the entire film is told from the point of view of Jamal, who we know is an imaginative boy and fan of movies. Is it possible that Jamal, like Spacey in "The Usual Suspects", has just narrated a cosy lie to us solely to avoid being punished by the police? After all, Jamal is a known con artist and the plot is too unbelievable, too manufactured, to be true. The characters are too cardboard, too stereotype, too comic book. The love story is too insensible and contrived. Is it possible that Jamal has scammed the quiz program and that the film is a scam on the audience?

But no, Boyle does not seem to go down this route. There's no irony here, no questioning of artificiality, and little inclination that Boyle believes his picture to be anything more than a straight fantasy. A better filmmaker would have probed deeper, undermining the carefully manufactured Bollywood image, but Boyle seems content with his happily ever after.

6/10 – See "Salaam Bombay!", "Los Olividados", "Land of Plenty and "Wendy and Lucy".
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6/10
Slumdog Millionaire with 8 Oscar nominations? Huh?
NewFreedomRider1 March 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Last night we went to see what the fuss was all about.

While Slumdog is fairly entertaining, I found the overall package to fall far short of an "instant classic". My main gripe with this film was that the plot mechanisms were very contrived, in many cases incredibly predictable.

By the time we got to the second flashback, the scene was pretty much set. There will be some horrific disaster or injustice; and then, there will be some miraculous turn of events to contrast with the evil. This formula was repeated again and again; I suppose the thinking was that this was an analogue of the Indian experience itself. I thought that it was simply clumsy and self-serving.

Another annoyance was the injection of Western arrogance into the film; for example, the "three musketeers" scene which of course was just a contrivance to set up the dramatic final question. Two Indian children whose mother had just been brutally murdered, who had just seen a man burned to death in front of them, would be prattling on about the characters in an Alexandre Dumas novel? Really? What in the world was this director thinking? Did he really think that anyone could watch this scene with a straight face?

The subplot with Salim as a gangster was quite unbelievable and discontinuous with the rest of the film. This could have been a good concept for a different film, where this plot could have be more fully developed, but it did not fit well in this movie. Another contrivance, and one that did not work well, I thought it was very awkward.

With that being said, there is still enough entertainment value to rate this film 6 stars. It was worth the matinée price that I paid, but I am not certain it would have been worth full admission.

Best Movie of the year? Spare me. That outcome simply shows how meaningless the Oscars have become.
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3/10
Only good if you don't think about it.
james_hawthorne31 March 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I accept that I saw this film post-hype. It was never going to be the Citizen Kane that people seem to think it is. But cripes, it was fluff! Not only fluff, but cold fluff: while something like Mamma Mia can draw you in with its silliness and generous humour, I felt nothing but boredom at Dev Patel's constant grump. I didn't want him to get the girl.

And, for all the talk about it being a 'love story against all the odds', the odds are so disparate as to be totally random! If you're going to write a fable, at least make your symbols coherent: is he fighting against discrimination because of his background? Is he fighting against people who use him? Or is he just fighting against his brother, who for some unknown reason is a really bad apple? (on that last point, this really annoyed me: i really don't buy his brother! If we agree its a moral fable, then what on earth does he represent?) Another massive problem with the film is the total lack of character development. So Dev Patel wants this girl... er, OK, why is this? It just seems to be a given. Can you imagine them having a happy life after the film? Can you imagine any of the characters doing ANYTHING outside the bubble of this plot? Can you say anything meaningful about the characters in the film that don't revolve around plot necessitudes? No? Well, maybe that's because these characters are about as undeveloped as your average goldfish.

Basically, I accept that people will say that Slumdog isn't a heavyweight film; its a bit of romantic nonsense in an economic climate when we all need cheering up. OK then: watch Forrest Gump or Mamma Mia. Because they're far more warm and generous than this anti-social, individualistic film. The icing on the cake came at the climax of the film, when all the people of Mumbai watch Dev Patel win the show. Where did this community theme come from in a film which is ostensibly about this one kid fighting everyone else? Perhaps Boyle thought the only way to sell a film about India was to make it with lots of anonymous happy smiling people doing a dance. How very dated.
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10/10
WOW is right
Jay8 September 2008
Warning: 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!
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9/10
The little movie that will wow audiences this year.
Malickfan867 September 2008
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.
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10/10
One of the best films of the year
Vincent Cadena5 November 2008
Warning: 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!
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1/10
Will someone say "The king is naked!" please?
yogsottoth28 March 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Because he's full frontal nude! This was not a good movie. Simple as that.

Starting from the first scene, my whole enthusiasm was drained off when I saw the cops torturing a guy for doing good in a competition. My mind was boggled. Has there ever been a more ludicrous, more absurd opening in the history of cinema? I mean who shows their script utterly sucks in the very first moments? Even bad action movies don't do that. It felt like a punch. (You thought it was gonna be good because of all those Oscars, eh? Here you go! POW!)

The following sequences where we witness our characters' past were far from being sincere, real, or authentic. I can't believe people compare this to City of God. It felt so... amateurish. Danny Boyle has totally lost his edge. There was nothing impressive. I don't know how to quite put it right, but there was this "We're so happy to be making this film!" feeling all over the movie and it especially didn't work well for the supposed dramatic moments. They were not real, not new, not original. A little bit of Oliver Twist, and some bad humor. Nothing memorable.

And the show... Ah, the show... A vulgar, cheating, lying, conniving bully of a TV show host? Where do they find these ideas? You can't just suspect a competitor of cheating and send him off to be electrocuted! In a place where a TV show like that is being made, these kinda stuff just cannot happen. This is a fact. Nobody can say anything to make it okay. That was the one most stupid character idea ever to be realized on screen.

And they even told about their suspicions to the press without so much as trying to frame him with some lie like they found something on him. How disreputable is that for the show? And is it so incomprehensible to think that maybe he just knew the answers? "Doctors, professors can't go where he went." my a**!!! As if the questions were prepared for geniuses... The first half was all about India and they even had questions with humorous answers that -like the cop said- a 5 year old could answer. This was *very cleverly* written to legitimize people's suspicions of the cheating thing but instead it made the lead guy look like a borderline idiot. And didn't the host think that maybe the guy could make a complaint, or at least talk to the press? Was he gonna cover it up with his strong ties to the police and threaten the media? He's a TV personality for god's sake! Not a made man! Oh god, it was so absurd.

And has nobody warned the writer about the "perfect chronology between the events in the guys life and the contents of the questions" angle was way too off? Too forced? You gotta be a bit more subtle when you're dealing with stuff like destiny since you're trying to make a real movie. Either go crazy and say "In my movie's universe these things are normal." like Woody Allen does, or make it a bit more realistic and reasonable like it was in the movie Crash. This was just lame, childish, BAD writing. Oh and the lead character must have had such a brain, they should kill the guy and study it. He remembers everything! If our brains stored information like that... Man, I don't even what would happen!

And the ending. The *perfectly* thought out ending where the easiest question in the world comes as the last question, just to tie it all up with a not-so-meaningful memory from his childhood. So cheap. The chaotic brother who just can't decide what to be, suddenly goes paladin and he, very quickly, brings a solution to the girl's problems and sets her free, and even handles the communication problem between the lovers just so that they can have the conclusion talk that will wrap the movie up. So cheap. And he kills the boss who, very conveniently, enters the room first. (come on, man... why would a crime boss enter a room like a deer when he knows there's something suspicious going on?) And the third act is done! Writing is that easy guys. And you can even get an Oscar for it.

David Fincher must have been so annoyed... When you can't even trust the Academy, what's the point of the whole awards concept?

Please let's stop this craze of cheering for bad movies just because of their hype! First the Dark Knight and now this. Teenagers go ape**** over horrific stuff like Twilight. What is going on? I don't think I can handle another one.
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3/10
who am i to say anything...
creative_chaos27 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
to those non-Indians and the conformist Indians here's a little bit of perspective...

when i write what i have to say some of you may think that I've been hurt by the negative depiction of Mumbai... well, not at all, actually i was hoping for a more gritty, realistic, up-close depiction rather than a 'long-shot' impersonal superficial one...

slum-dog millionaire is not a great film, slum-dog millionaire is not a good film. it's an OK film.

first the good things... cinematography is edgy and mind-blowing... editing is razor sharp... sound design is amazing...

but,

it is very hard to digest slum kids talking in English, harder still to digest is their (kind of) fake UK accent. also the cops speaking in English, the local mafia speaking in English...

the acting (in Hindi) of Salim and Jamaal though over-the-top, is passable. but once they grow up and start speaking in English, it's pathetic.

the story which is basically a love story between Jamaal and Latika is lost in the gimmicky impersonal screenplay and you don't connect... actually you don't connect with any character and not because the characters are dark but because neither the lines nor the acting are good. and Danny Boyle knows this and that's why the long-shots and the silhouettes and the characters-in-dark treatment to the film. Dev Patel has only one expression on his face when he is on the 'chair'. Anil Kapoor is irritatingly snobbish, Mahesh Manjrekar is irritating, Freida pinto is irritating... Irrfan Khan and Saurabh Shukla are passable...

Rehman's music is a mix of few average tunes from the great A. R. Rehman library. he's given great music, absolutely great music in infinite Hindi, Tamil films... so if he gets the Oscar, it'll be for his great compositions over the years and not for the average 'slum-dog..' album. ditto for the lyrics of Gulzar...

the main problem in the film is the lack of emotional attachment one feels with the film... i mean when Salim suddenly changes his heart or when he dies in the bath-tub filled with currency, we don't feel anything... when Jamaal finally gets Latika, we don't feel anything... when Salim kills Maman, we don't feel anything... when the film ends we don't feel anything (except irritation)...

the film is an amazingly shot and stylishly edited set of gimmicks which have been forcibly interwoven in to a very convenient story...

but when the world says that it's brilliant cinema, who am i to say anything... and if the world enjoys the irritating yet laughable ( a bad wannabe Bollywood) song and dance sequence in the end, who am i to say anything...
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4/10
unrealistic & over-rated
sambitprem27 January 2009
Warning: 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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1/10
D - Highly Overrated. Final Answer. Where's my check?
Egg_MacGuffin15 March 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Here's yet another extremely overrated film from 2008 catered specifically to awards and little else. Color me unimpressed.

While it's not as dire as Benjamin Button or as erroneous as The Dark Knight, Slumdog is certainly not a good film. It's not technically bad, either. It simply exists. It's a movie you watch rather than experience.

I am literally in a state of shock these days at all the films masquerading as high-class or even art when they are riddled with so many *fundamental* mistakes. Screen writing 101...they get that stuff wrong! Not the hard stuff, the simple stuff. How? I am baffled.

Slumdog's story relies damn near entirely on coincidence, which is a hugely detrimental factor when attempting to create audience sympathy. I didn't feel for the kid on the show. I wasn't given a reason to. If that were me on that show, I would have never been asked questions that I just so happened to know the answers to by chance. This kid just so happens to know the answer to the questions he is asked and little else. He lucked out! I did not sympathize with him, I envied him! I simply could not put myself in that situation due to it's complete insanity and lack of realism.

The search for the girl is introduced rather late, and before then, there isn't much to root for in this story. So essentially, you can begin watching this film at that point and completely understand the plot and miss nothing of importance.

The fact that the kid had one question left was not properly communicated to the audience, which diluted the suspense of the situation.

The fragmented nature of the story doesn't make it easy to understand the narrative, even when the concept alone creates the plot beats for you. This film seems to go out of it's way to make things extra-complex, as though it's trying to cover up something that's lacking...

Another thing that jumped out and bothered me...there are plenty of scenes that simply have nothing to do with the kid on the game show...or scenes that take far too long to get to the necessary bits of info that we need. It plods around for quite some time as if it's trying to make up for something that's lacking...

I also do not enjoy the new-age, pointlessly over-stylistic directing style employed here. It was distracting, perhaps to cover up something that's lacking...

When something, *anything*, is not right, you look at the fundamentals. This is true in everything from football to film-making. Without knowing, or by simply ignoring the fundamentals, you end up with horrendously flawed films such as this, The Dark Knight and Benjamin Button. And what's really sad is that these are the most highly-praised films of last year.

When did the standards drop so low? Did I miss a meeting? And can I still vote?
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10/10
One of the best cinema offered in 2008
aharmas9 November 2008
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.
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6/10
I liked it I didn't love it
dbborroughs6 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Probable Oscar nominee didn't float my boat. Its a good film but I don't know whether too many people have told me how great it is or is it not that great and people are simply reacting to the exotic nature of the film, either way it didn't blow my skirt up.

This is the story of Jamal who is on the verge of winning 20 million rupees in India's Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Certain this lower class kid must be cheating he's in the police station where some extreme methods are being employed to find out how he's cheating. Insisting that he is not cheating Jamal recounts his life's story with appropriate pauses to explain how he knows the answers.

Far from what I expected, I didn't expect the level of violence, this is a good little film. Its the sort of thing where luck, or is it fate, allows you enough information to get ahead. Its the sort of thing designed to make you feel good.

As I said I'm not in love with the film. I like it but I'm not in love with it. Perhaps its a little too cute at times (The kid in the poop) and it didn't help that the romance vital to much of the later part of the film didn't feel right to me.

As an exercise in film-making its a masterful achievement blending a variety of styles into something uniquely its own. Danny Boyle is quite simply one of the best filmmakers working today one need only look at the last four films he's directed to see the range he has. Its a dizzying, great looking, great sounding film that makes even the squalor of India seem magical. I wish more directors had Boyle's abilities.

That said the film didn't click with me. I respect the people who've fallen in love with the film enough to give the film a second go down the line., but for now Its a good film that I don't think is one of the best of the year.

(For those, like me who didn't realize this was as violent as it it be warned- There are shootings, clubbings, torture, people set on fire, and nastiness to children. Its not a film for kids, though reviews I've seen made it seem so)
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4/10
The feel-bad movie of the year
galensaysyes17 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
"The feel-good movie of the year!" promises the quote headlined on the DVD jacket; and that certainly was how the movie was sold. Remembering previous movies directed by Danny Boyle--stories about miserable people in dead-end situations--I wondered what his idea of a feel-good movie would be.

I found out soon enough: a story about even more miserable people at a dead end even more definite; a story that begins in torture and ends in a double murder, with betrayal, abduction, theft, robbery, mutilation, and more murders along the way. The movie's claim to feel-good status rests on a "happy ending" that takes up perhaps five minutes and feels more like an appendix, the story proper having concluded as it commenced, i.e. miserably. The ending didn't make me feel good, and I don't see how it could inspire such a feeling in anyone who was paying it close attention.

How did it make me feel? Confused; because it seemed to follow from nothing that had preceded. The boy and the girl live happily ever after, in prosperity and contentment--but no, that isn't actually the ending; that's only our inference from the ending. The movie doesn't show it, and what a movie doesn't show in effect doesn't happen. The actual ending is that the boy and the girl meet and kiss. And even that is...well, what is it? It isn't realistic, and can't have been intended to be taken as such. But neither is it romantic, since the movie lacks the layer of sentiment that such an ending would require. It isn't fantastical, and it isn't satirical. In fact, it makes no sense, however you try to read it.

The inexplicableness of the conclusion led me to look back at the story more critically, and when I did I found it the same all through. I don't know what mode it's supposed to be in. It's based on what sounds like the "happy idea" of traditional comedy: a poor boy competes in a TV quiz show and amazes everyone by knowing all the answers, since every one of them is something he has discovered during one of the major events in his life. But the movie isn't a comedy. And supposing it were, I still wouldn't know what the point of the idea was. Again, it clearly isn't an observation from real life. Is it intended as an optimistic statement, showing that all experience yields knowledge? Or as darkly comic, showing that after the many horrors the boy has endured, all he has to show for it is a few negligible bits of trivia? Or as inspirational, in that he turns a life of defeats into victory? One can only guess.

The best clue the movie offers is the structure, as far as it can be discerned in spite of the director's efforts to fragment it. From it I would guess that the original novel was a step or two distant from reality. The story is laid out in a series of discrete episodes from the boy's life, each containing the answer to one of the questions on the quiz show. In the movie we hear the question, we see the flashback relating to it, and then we flash-forward again to the answer. This seems more artificial and tedious when acted out literally than it would on the page. And paradoxically, the movie's attempts to disguise its repetitiveness only make it seem more intrusive. Had it been treated in the same way as a recurring pattern in music, it might have given the movie a solid form. As it is, it's constantly broken up: sometimes we're in the TV studio as the quiz show is going on, sometimes we're in a police station watching it; the shifts are so random that often we don't know where or when we are. In fact, it wasn't until well into the film that I grasped the boy wasn't only replaying his life in memory, he was also telling it to the police. Once we know this, we can't be sure whether we're seeing events as he's recollecting them, as he's recounting them, or as they originally happened. Clarity appears not to have been the director's primary objective.

What he does seem to have been after is to keep things moving. And he does succeed at that. This is a running, jumping, and not-standing-still film. For instance, it contains two street chases that go on much longer than needed--if either sequence were needed--with no apparent purpose other than to add some physical action. The scenes of violence raise the same suspicion, and come off seeming sensationalized, however undoubted the reality they reflect. Probably Boyle has a genuine concern for the victims he portrays, but his hyping of the atrocities they have to endure tends to call that into question, as does the fact that the same kinds of bad things happen in his zombie and space movies as in this purported social document. And frankly, I couldn't help feeling that a lot of it was just the director superimposing himself onto the material. At the end, indeed, he does so almost literally. In what would have an enjoyable dance number in the Bollywood style, he continually pastes credits on top of the dancers, as well as cutting away from them every few seconds. He seems unable to keep himself out of it.

Similarly, he hashes up the narrative, jumping from one stage of the boy's life to the next, while paying scant attention to how he got from one to the other, and never slowing down enough to show what he feels and thinks. That is especially true when it comes his relations with his brother, so critical to the story, which are depicted only in the most generalized and movie-ish way.

If I'm going to watch a meaningless movie, I'd rather it were a feel-better one.
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1/10
Cliché
Mario Bogicevic25 February 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I still can't believe how much hype is there about this movie. Whole movie is like a fairy tale from the very beginning. First they beat him up totally at the start of the movie and finally they stop, this inspector starts questioning him, he answers all the questions and he instantly believes him. Then from the question one, we know how will whole movie go and from that moment, honestly, I was just counting how many questions are left so I can get this movie over with. Also, questions in this quiz are silly easy, especially the last one which by no means should be a main prize question which can be answered by any average 10 years old kid. But still, I continue watching the movie , with a belief there has to be something original and unexpected as the movie gets near the end, having in mind how highly rated this movie is, but fair tale just keeps going on and on... I really hoped that a train would hit Latica at the end when she was going towards him to give us some dark reality which is a must in a movie which wins Oscar usually, but Na, movie ends and stupid dance sequence starts...
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3/10
Oscar waste...again
sfiver1 June 2009
Warning: Spoilers
After winning eight Oscars I was all set to experience a masterpiece. I dunno, but I didn't get it. Do I need to watch it again? Is this a new genre? What am I missing? I did not enjoy the cinema theater experience - as I rented it and watched it in HD. That might've contributed to my lack of understanding or sensory deprivation.

Hence, I saw what seemed like a "young love" story set against the sometimes horrid background of Mumbai, India. The slums and all that goes with it. The flashback sequences with the young children, then as young teens is compelling. Then suddenly we're thrust into the future rooting for the still young Jamal Malik the contestant on India's version of "Who wants to be a millionaire." All of the questions somehow reflect and ignite memories of his street urchin childhood. This is not an innovative concept. We can all guess the ending.

I grant you - the photography is beautiful and I guess the kudos for sound, editing, etc., that the academy bestowed are probably deserved. Dev Patel as the older Jamal seems out of sync. He's just too pretty and does not fit the part.

Well... One of the best movies... ever made? Nope! Not even the best of 2008. Good, compelling, interesting and no more.
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Most overrated movie of the year
farkomeister17 February 2009
Warning: Spoilers
*May contain spoilers*

Granted, the cinematography is decent and the story concept involving the game show is a little different from the usual fare, but the movie is hugely over-rated. It is not quite as "excellent" as critics and movie-goers have been raving about. It is comparable to any Bollywood movie, really. Childhood friendship develops into love and the lovers are separated time and again by villains.

Benegal, Ray and such other Indian directors have been making much better movies for decades but have received very little acclaim in the West for their work. With an American director delving into an Indian story, however, this story now deserves an Oscar. Wonderful!

Boyle should restrict himself to zombie movies.
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1/10
Krusty presents: The Cheesy and Schmaltzy Show.
CineCritic251718 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Since it received no less than 8 Oscars, I foresaw that Slumdog would not be of my liking, but I was frankly still baffled that the picture did not even meet my poorest of expectations, turning out to be just another overcheesed melodrama and an altogether quixotic mess of a film.

With leads totally bereft of any charisma and zero chemistry between them, I progressively wondered who exactly I was supposed to root for. I think at some point I went for the game show host, since he was apparently paying the game money out his own pocket? and was obviously the victim of a swindle, much like myself.

Come on, people don't instantly become of interest or garner sympathy just because they had a rough time. It takes a believable backdrop, a solid script and character development to achieve this. This picture fails terribly on all these counts and does so rather conspicuously, much like a cartoon or a parody. Oh, this was a realistic portrait of a typical slum in Bombay? They must have recently painted and vacuumed the place then.

Heavy handed and utterly contrived situations furthered my annoyance as the movie turned into an inconceivable question and answer game where queue back sequences, in perfect chronological alignment, conveniently allowed the main lead to be able to rush through the game show, never showing the proper emotion or physical reaction such a tense situation surely would bring. No wonder the comic book villain cops didn't buy the lead's explanation that he simply knew all the answers. Our poor lead is beaten and tortured as the morally bankrupt cops try to force out a confession. But after a few weepy lifetime tales, the cop miraculously turns from foe to friend acting like the father one never had. Please give us a break.

And what was up with these kids being able to speak perfect English all of a sudden? Since when is the WWTBAM show broad-casted live? Since when do you only need to answer 6 questions in this quiz and what in God's name is so glorious or symbolic about being shot to death in a bathtub full of money?

Why is it that nowadays films with a story line that would really only be suitable for young children with its simplistic and utterly unrealistic plot points, seem so fit to gather so much general acclaim from a mature audience? I know people are easy to manipulate with these sorts of rags to riches claptrap, but surely this level of schmaltz and insultingly lame and predictable story progression would open up a few eyes here and there?

I guess that the better the movies come, the worse they actually are.
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1/10
Shame on you Oscars
greenbeavervideo14 July 2009
Warning: Spoilers
After seeing this movie, I think members of the Oscars should be arrested and interrogated for suspicion of fraud. As others have pointed out, this film is part of a continuing trend of the Oscars trying to shove mediocre movies down our throats. It is as though the intentions of this movie were good enough to make it a "great" movie.

First off, this movie asks way too much of its audience as far as suspension of belief. This is fine with a sci-fi or horror movies, but for a highly touted Oscar winner that claims to be a gritty drama portraying an often ignored part of a big society, it really goes overboard. The coincidences that you are asked to accept are just beyond human comprehension. I used to watch the American version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire, and to suggest that an uneducated homeless guy could win because just about every question is related to something obscure that happened a long time ago in his life, and which he happens to conveniently remember, is just ludicrous. Please, the coincidence of the little kid in God Rama custom was just laughable, and when movie critics decide they hate a movie, this is the kind of stuff they pounce on, but in this case, a clear example of complete amateurism is ignored.

And don't get me started about the TV host character. He blatantly belittles the contestant about being poor, again and again and again, with no subtlety whatsoever, just straight out laughs in his face while millions watch on TV. He is part of a collective that makes taking this film seriously completely impossible.

Somewhere between 20 to 30 minutes into this movie you realize how the rest of the movie is going to go. Those who you think will end up together, do. The characters you expect to die, do. The only thing that kept my interest was the notion that, since this was a critically acclaimed movie and a foreign movie, they would not cop out and do a Hollywood ending. I guess I was wrong. And maybe it's an Indian tradition, but what was the deal with ending the movie with a completely irrelevant dance number??? I know they did something similar in "There's Something About Mary", but that was a comedy!! Can you imagine a dance number at the end of "Crash"?

Another thing that bugged me was the so called love story. It was a big part of the second half of the movie and it just destroyed any sliver of credibility the plot still had at that point. The main character suffers from what I like to call "Hugh Grant Syndrome". This is when a movie gives us a male character who has a nonsensical, and self deprecating, obsession with a woman who obviously doesn't like him and even goes out of her way to hurt him just to show him how much she's not into him, but then the guy, against all logic, persist and eventually wins her. These movies have the audacity to asks us to see these stalker, unhealthy, relationships as "romantic" and "endearing" when any adult with half a brain knows that women like this (or any person for that matter) don't change over night and that the relationship is already doomed. The girl in this movie, except briefly when they were playing around as kids, never showed the same level or type of interest that the guy does through out the last half! She always followed whatever would allow her to survive. The only time she actually seems to want to be with him as much as he does with her is when he has fame and money. This is supposed to be romantic?

I decided to see this movie, despite the obvious red flag that this was hyped by the Oscars, because I wanted to see something different, something that would give me more insight into what I regard as a fascinating culture. In spite of the great cinematography and look of the film, all I got was a bunch of Western stereotypes wrapped in a silly and substandard plot. This was the best movie of 2008?!?! Really?!?! I thought "The Wrestler" was a better movie, and it wasn't even nominated!!!! Only the Hollywood elites don't see the big disconnect between their taste in movies and that of movie fans. In a move that reeks of desperation they are adding more nominees to the Oscars categories in an attempt to keep the ceremonies' ratings from going down the toilet even more. They don't get it, it's not about quantity, it's about quality, or in this case, lack of quality.
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1/10
A piece of Cinematic Feces.
yougetme12 February 2009
Warning: Spoilers
This movie should rank as one of the worst movies of the decade if not the century! The script is painfully flawed and deliberately manipulative and full of clichés about India. It just takes those painfully little things the west thinks it knows of India (Slums, poverty, beggars, TajMahal, call centers, bollywood …) and paints it in the most horrifying way! The flaws in the script are so glaring and far from reality that it is preposterous to even consider this film for an Award worth its salt! For any Indian some of these things below are just laughable -

• While some riots break out, some kid dresses up as Lord RAM and postures while everyone else is running for his life. Ridiculous! And of course, the muslims are the victims! • While Jamaal knows whose photo is on a 100 dollor bill, he doesn't on an Indian Bill! Hello, this kid is taking photos of the tourists with an imported camera & hasn't seen ANY rupee note? (and FYI, All Indian Notes have Gandhi's portrait on them!!). • In India while English is spoken by those people whose medium of education is English (which is very small), Jamal and his friends who never went to school manage to speak English quite well! • Little children in a school study about the three musketeers and that too in English!

I can keep going on…

Needless to say, this film has manipulated the poverty (that very much exists in India like most places in the world) in a very tasteless way to suit a western audience.

Consider this, at one scene when a driver beats up Jamal, he says "You wanted to see the real India. Here it is" and the woman replies "Well, here's the real America", pulling out a hundred-dollar bill for Jamal.

You'll find beggars and drug addicts on the streets of rich nations as well (I've seen many in Vancouver, LA, Boston and Atlanta). And how often do people there go around throwing hundred-dollar bills?

It is this twisted, deliberate attempt to glorify the ugly side of the Indian underbelly (again, which does exist to some extent) for the maker's own selfish gains, is just not acceptable.

My request for all those who saw the movie is - Don't type cast a vast civilization like India looking at a piece of cinematic Feces like "Slumdog Millionaire" and even worst please don't give it an Oscar!
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10/10
One of the top 5 movies of this year
JABKool1 November 2008
Warning: 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.
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A crowd-pleasing masterpiece?
ametaphysicalshark25 December 2008
Warning: 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.
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10/10
A stunning achievement: The best film of the year and one of the most exhilarating film-going experiences
anhedonia3 November 2008
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.
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6/10
An average film. Nothing worth the buzz!
sganesh8828 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I'm honestly surprised about the recognition and buzz about this film throughout the world. And 10 Oscar nominations!! Man.! How are stupidity and ridiculousness instantly absorbed and appreciated by people without hesitation? OK. let me be pragmatic in my turning down this film as average.

Most things about the film is clichéd. Every damn bad thing imaginable in India happens to the protagonist. But the protagonist overcomes them all. In a way, it confirms what many outside India think about India. People rolling in sh*t, dirty slums, caste based riots, begging, cheating, poverty, cunningness blah blah. All packed in one tight container name "Slumdog Millionaire". The only good souls in the movie are Jamal and Latika (and perhaps amitabh who generously signs autograph for a fan drenched in sh*t). We call this type of movies as "mas ala" in India. No logic. Lots of action. Fast paced screenplay. The protagonist finally smile along with his lady-love who does nothing essentially but just dances in a few songs. (Danny has satisfied even this criterion by making the duo dance with a suddenly formed gang in the railway station at the end of the movie) A typical bolly-Hollywood mas ala movie. A few questions.. How can a slumdog get the answers for every damn question from his life and win 2 crores of rupees? How can slum dogs speak such an excellent English to cheat the foreigners by impersonating themselves as guides? And did you notice their perfect slang?! Rupees is never mentioned in millions. Another attempt toplease the western audience rather than attempting to bring about the truth. Truth? damn! who needs it?! Why did Jamal reject the host's help? Why did the show host suddenly turn villainous? Why did Jamal's brother let Latika go at the last minute and get killed after ceremoniously killing the gang leader? My god! height of insanity.

Certain parts of it are awesome without doubt. Music, screenplay, cinematography. The way the slum has been captured in the police- chasing-the-boys scene is really appreciable. A.R.Rahman is God. But these are nothing to justify the hero-worship the movie is getting. I'm not bothered about India being portrayed in this way by a foreigner. I just expected truth and naturalness which are greatly missing. 6 votes!
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10/10
What I'm feeling for this film isn't love, it's pure admiration
Kristine22 March 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Slumdog Millionaire, the best film of 2008 by far, I saw this back in December after hearing a little bit about it on the net. I was so excited to see that it was playing at my local theater and I didn't hesitate to see it when it was released. There are a lot of people who are just asking why this film is so popular or loved, the reason why in my opinion is that it's just a happy film. We usually have a best picture winner that is depressing, but instead Slumdog Millionaire just lifts your spirits and makes you cry in joy. I couldn't believe how much I loved this film, after reading a summary on what it was about, I was just confused and wondering if this film was really going to be good. But we have these unknown young actors: Dev Peitel, Freida Pinto and Madhur Mittal who pull in heart wrenching performances and you can't help but love their characters and just keep rooting for them. All in all, this film is a love story. Most film lovers fear those words after Titanic because everyone thought it to be a predictable puppy love story, this love story however is made in strength and faith and you can't help but keep wanting Jamal and Latika to be together. Even though I saw the film a while back, I still remember it like I saw it yesterday.

A title card is presented: "Jamal Malik is one question away from winning 20 million rupees. How did he do it? A) He cheated, B) He's lucky, C) He's a genius, D) It is written." Jamal is a contestant on the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? hosted by Prem Kumar in which he was on the show and won 20,000,000 rupees (about US$500,000). Jamal then explains that, while at least the question about Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan was very simple, he knew the answers of most questions by chance, because of things that happened in his life. This is conveyed in a series of flashbacks documenting the details of his childhood. This includes scenes of him obtaining Bachchan's autograph, the death of his mother during the Hindu anti-Muslim violence, rekindling the memory of the 1993 anti-Muslim attacks in Mumbai by Hindu nationalists in the slums, and how he and his brother Salim befriend Latika. The children are eventually discovered by Maman while they live in the trash heaps. Maman is a gangster who "collects" street children so that he can ultimately train them to beg for money. Salim is groomed to become a part of Maman's operation and is asked to bring Jamal to Maman in order to be blinded. Salim protects his brother, and the three children try to escape; but only Salim and Jamal are able to do so. Latika is re-captured by Maman's organization and raised as a culturally talented prostitute whose virginity will fetch a high price. The brothers eke out a living, traveling on top of trains, selling goods, pretending to be tour guides at the Taj Mahal, and picking pockets. Jamal eventually insists that they return to Mumbai since he wishes to locate Latika. When he finds her working as a dancer in a brothel, the brothers attempt to rescue her, but Maman intrudes, and in the resulting conflict Salim draws a gun and kills Maman. Salim then uses the fact that he killed Maman to obtain a job with Javed a rival crime lord. Salim claims Latika as his own and when Jamal protests, Salim threatens to kill him and Latika intervenes, accepting her fate with Salim.

Years later, Jamal has a position at a call center. When he is asked to cover for a co-worker for a couple of minutes, he searches the database for Salim and Latika. He gets in touch with Salim, who has become a high-ranking lieutenant in Javed's organization. Jamal confronts a regretful Salim on tense terms. Salim invites Jamal to live with him and after following Salem, he sees Latika living there. He talks his way in as the new chef and tries to convince Latika to leave. She tries to discourage him, but on the first day that Jamal waits at the train station, Latika attempts to escape with him, but is recaptured by Salim and Javed's men. One of the men then slashes her cheek with a knife, scarring her as Salim drives off, leaving Jamal with the onlooking crowd. Jamal again loses contact with Latika when Javed moves to another house. In another attempt to find Latika, Jamal tries out for the popular game show because he knows that she will be watching.

I cannot wait for this movie to be released on DVD, it's a terrific uplifting movie that just captures your heart and makes you feel good. I couldn't believe that people were just complaining about the ending dance sequence, it was a TERRIFIC way to end it, to see everything that Jamal went through and that dance just makes you feel happy because you can tell the joy of him having his Latika in his arms. It was a beautiful ending and makes you extremely joyful. The story is brutal, funny, sad, original and beautiful. Danny Boyle, I knew that this director had something special when he made the horror film 28 Days Later, but who knew he could pull of such an uplifting beautifully made film? He picked the perfect actors, made the film wonderfully, and the whole crew seemed to enjoy making this together. Who wouldn't? It was a pleasure to watch on the screen and if you haven't seen this film in the theater, buy it when it comes on DVD, it's one of the most terrific experiences I've had watching a film. We haven't had a film like Slumdog Millionaire and it's one of my new favorite films of all time.

10/10
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6/10
Overrated
Andy Kirchmayer13 October 2009
Warning: Spoilers
It's never good to watch a movie with great expectations. Either you just get what you waited for anyway or you are completely disappointed. Well, what's wrong with Slumdog Millionaire? Maybe I shouldn't have read anything about it before watching - but as it won so many Oscars, it's hard not to find out anything about it. So the storyline was clear - some poor boy from the Mumbai slums gets the opportunity to win a lot of money. And the movie somehow has to point out how it is actually possible for somebody who dropped out of school as a child to know all these answers.

Well, the acting is fine and you really get to know the main character. It's hard not to like him. The music's good, the antagonists are as bad as you'd wish them to be. So it's about the plot. Slumdog Millionaire is a modern-day Indian fairytale. Everything works out for Jamal. Don't get me wrong, that's all right - Jamal has the amount of luck of an action movie hero (be it in "Die Hard" or in "Taken"). But they normally aren't rewarded any Oscars.

The Academy Awards Jury seemingly longs for happy endings. But this one got so many Oscars because it's a movie that gives you a good feeling. From rags to riches, and besides finding the girl of your dreams - all of this happening in India with its social problems. Some of those Oscars are symbolic for the message you might want to receive from the movie. Everyone can be a winner. But that's cinema. A real-life "Die Hard" wouldn't have had an happy ending. It's fiction and you gotta accept it. Maybe some people don't wanna accept that and thus rate Slumdog Millionaire this good.

For me it's nothing but a pretty enjoyable drama. But an overrated one.
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