I’m not all about action/comedy. Fair enough, if you peruse the ever-growing catalogue of films on here, you won’t find much to prove otherwise but shut up, I’m trying to look more intelligent. Point being, it’s time to review “Slumdog
“Slumdog Millionaire” is a tough sell to people who aren’t “up” on film news/award nominations. You find yourself in the awkward position of trying to describe the premise whilst simultaneously trying to make it sound interesting. You end up saying something like “Well, it’s about this kid from the Mumbai slums who goes on the Indian version of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” and wins big, before being accused of cheating” It’s normally right around the point that you finish saying the game show title that you feel like a complete tithead. Does this mean that in 2012 we’re going to have a heartwarming story based around “The Weakest Link”? A taut action thriller based on “Deal or No Deal”? Where do you draw the line?
As aforementioned, the story focuses on Jamal Malik (Dev Patel) a chai wallah (basically, “tea boy”) for a telemarketing company in Mumbai who ends up facing Prem Kumar (Anil Kapoor) the Indian equivalent of Chris Tarrant in the “…Millionaire” hotseat. Jamal is accused of foul play and he is taken in for questioning. He then begins to recount just how a simple “slumdog” could know all the answers. The story is fantastic. Before seeing it I wasn’t convinced that the “…Millionaire” game show idea would organically blend with the story, but I was wrong. It acts as the perfect framing device for Jamal’s flashbacks over his eventful and often tragic life. Dev Patel is no longer just “that kid from Skins” to me, he’s an accomplished and gifted young actor who I hope has a great career ahead of him. Frieda Pinto (who plays love interest, Latika) is also one of the most beautiful and talented people you’ll see on screen this year.
Before going into the cinema, I clocked the poster advertising it, boldy proclaiming it is “the feel-good film of the decade”. I disrespectfully disagree (considering it’s from “News of the World”) . It really isn’t. There are some genuinely horrible and harrowing moments in this film. Without giving too much away, when Jamal nearly loses his sight, I was on the edge of my seat, praying that what I thought was going to transpire, didn’t transpire. If that’s slightly confusing I apologise, but I want you to go into this film spoiler-free, because I know it’s one of those films that is best when you have no idea what is going on at times. I didn’t even see the trailer for this film but that was more to do with luck rather than me strapping on my anti-spoiler suit. Going back to the poster, why does it look like the poster from “Wimbledon”? If you go in expecting some kind of romcom with an Indian twist, you’re going to be disappointed, let me tell you. It’s so much better than that.
Favourite scenes? Erm… it’s hard to say in a film like this as I liked them all. There wasn’t a scene out of place or that didn’t add to the plot in some way. It’s masterfully done by consistently overlooked director Danny Boyle, who makes you proud to be British. Some of the aerial shots of the slums coupled with the images of the dump that the children are working in will be burned on my brain for a long time to come.
I’ve heard some complaints about the fact that the film isn’t realistic, with those insufferable pseudo-intellectuals telling you that it couldn’t happen. Ironically, in their effort to try and make themselves look intelligent, they’ve missed the entire point of the film and made themselves look like a fucking idiot. As far as I understand it, it’s a modern parable- a fairytale that literally interprets the phrase “rags to riches” and gives us one of the most unique, brutal, harrowing, heart-warming, funny films I have seen and probably will see in a long, long time.