Cert: 15 Runtime: 120 mins Director: Danny Boyle Cast: Dev Patel, Freida Pinto, Anil Kapoor and Irrfan Khan
When somebody asks me a question, I tell them the answer
So our journey continues with the multi award winning Slumdog Millionaire, this is the time Mr.Boyle was recognized for his talents and skills. The story of Jamal Malik (Dev Patel), 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 Kaun Banega Crorepati?(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 (Freida Pinto), 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. Each chapter of Jamal’s increasingly layered story reveals where he learned the answers to the show’s seemingly impossible quizzes. But one question remains a mystery: what is this young man with no apparent desire for riches really doing on …When film can uplift someone emotionally by having two characters who should be together, want to be together, and who are as the cliché goes “made” for each other, and it’s done without false sentimentality (different from sentiment, which Slumdog has in spades), it can be one of the best things in movies.
Danny Boyle’s film is one of those and, like another masterful take on romance this century, it utilizes cinematic style, urgent and sometimes feverish and joyfully passionate turns with the camera and editing, to take us to incredible heights.Like in any strong love story, we got to have someone to root for, and Jamal is one that makes us root for him so much along the way (not least of which when he is in the midst of his nail-biter of a shot on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”) because he is a good person, a genuine one, so much so there may be one or two scenes we might wonder if Latika is “good enough” for Jamal’s overwhelming desire to be with her, to take her away from all the terrible elements of slum life. But ultimately, they’re a as pure souls as are, in their own rotten way, the criminals, and even the (eventually) conflicted brother Salim. A lot happens that I could go on more about in Slumdog Millionaire, but it’s moot to try and go into the big plot points or even some of the surprising twists. This is just absolute, crystal-clear terrific storytelling by a director who trusts his actors to find the ripe nuggets of truth with the characters- what makes them basic and honest or dishonest- when faced with the various clichés or conventions or a story like this.
And on top of having a great cast, and having such a wonderful and varied taste in music (some Indian, some not), and of a deft attention to the plot as it skips from back and forth from the interrogation of Jamal to childhood and back in little flashes, it’s also as dazzlingly filmed and executed via cinematography as anything from Boyle’s cannon. He’s never one to lack appropriate style or to push the envelope just a little further to make his stories so absorbing (Trainspotting and 28 Days Later come to mind as prime examples), but rarely has one seen so much attention to the raw power of the characters and the actors as in here. Even with Millions, also dealing with mostly child actors, Slumdog Millionaire gives Boyle a showcase for his talents as a provocateur with the camera, as a constant experimenter, while making sure we don’t lose sight of those he’s got in his sights. It’s more than just appropriate to use such force as a film-maker for such a tender and tragic/hopeful story, it’s almost required. Boyle reaches up to that and then some: many of the shots in this movie are hard to lose out of your mind (that sudden vision of the blue Hindu child during the massacre is one, but there are countless others), and I for one can’t wait to revisit them again.