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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10/10
WOW is right
jackhajduk8 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.
RPaleja7 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
vince_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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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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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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9/10
Just What The Doctor Ordered
katiemeyer19793 November 2008
Warning: Spoilers
An exhilarating realistic fairy tale that will make you feel like flying. I certainly felt it. Rewarding without being opportunistic. This tale of two orphan brothers in a slum of Bombay is a mixture of heart wrenching and uplifting emotions. I didn't know anything about the film other that what I just mentioned and that was part of the enjoyment so I won't talk about the film to allow you the same discovery I went through. Let me just say that this is Danny Boyle's best film and the cast of unknowns is truly extraordinary. The last few minutes of the film will have you on the edge of your seat hoping against hope that what "is written" is really written.
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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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10/10
What I'm feeling for this film isn't love, it's pure admiration
Smells_Like_Cheese22 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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8/10
Must-See
slseel1 September 2008
This is an extraordinary film. From the original concept of the novel on which it is based (Q&A by Vikas Swarup), the screenplay by Simon Beaufoy (Full Monty) but especially the masterful creation and direction of the film by Danny Boyle. From the opening moments until the final scene, the audience was fully engaged. I was completely lost in the world that Danny Boyle created. This is not a story that has been told and retold, hashed and rehashed. It is fresh and engaging - all at once quickly moving, romantic, violent, culturally insightful, desperate and slightly fantastic. There are some comic elements to the film but to describe it as a "comedy" seems inappropriate. The film was shot on location in India, mostly in Mumbai. Slumdog Millionaire is yet another testament to depth and range of Boyle's artistic talent who has directed such diverse films as Shallow Grave, Trainspotting, 28 Days Later and Sunshine.

I saw the film on at the 2008 Telluride Film Festival as a "sneak preview." The film was introduced by Boyle who said that the official opening of the film would be the next weekend at the Toronto Film Festival. He also said that there may be some final tweaking of the film prior to Toronto.

In the discussion after the film Boyle strongly recommended three Indian made films: Satya, Company and Black Friday. He described each as superb. Boyle also stated that a portion of the Slumdog Millionaire was shot with a Canon EOS still camera, especially around the Taj Mahal, rather than a proper movie camera which creates unwanted attention while filming at popular tourist locations in India.

8.2
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7/10
Good movie, Highly overrated
yogeshnachnani25 February 2009
I FULLY AGREE that it is a good movie, no doubt about it, but it is highly overrated. If u people like this, there are 100s of other Indian Movies that are made much better than this(Both old and NEW). As for Rahman's music, it is GREAT (again no doubt). But this is definitely not his best. Pls go hear "dil se" and u'll know what i am talking about! Compare this movie to previous Oscar winners like American beauty, and well, u'll know wat i mean.

Verdict : To everyone who has still not seen the film, It's definitely a one time watch. Good music,Good story and Good (kind hearted if i may add) cast and crew. But i request you to watch it with an open mind. And by the way, Mumbai is not just a "slum area". :-)
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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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9/10
"Slumdog" beautifully bridges life in India and Western film
Movie_Muse_Reviews22 December 2008
It doesn't seem like a stretch to suggest that America might now be ready to embrace films in the style of India's Bollywood films. While "Slumdog Millionaire" is far from a Bollywood tragic love story filled with singing and dancing, the way director Danny Boyle will rivet audiences with his film that is authentic to Indian culture while using a distinctly Western style of film-making might be enough proof that there is a profit to be made here.

"Slumdog Millionaire" is a drama exposing the tragic effects of poverty in gigantic Indian cities like Mumbai that is also fused with a modern day Indian fairytale. Jamal Malik is a young man on India's "Who Wants to Be A Millionaire" and is a question away from one million dollars when he's arrested on suspicion of cheating. Because Jamal is from the slums of India and has no educational background, it seems entirely improbable if not impossible that Jamal could make it this far, but each question is connected with distinct and sometimes painful memories for Jamal. It's as if he is destined to win, even though he only went on the show to impress a girl he has loved his whole life, Latika.

Danny Boyle ("28 Days Later," "Sunshine") takes us from memory to memory as Jamal advances question by question toward the million dollars. These memories offer vivid insight into poverty in India as well as the lives of Jamal, Latika and Jamal's older brother Salim. As children they are left parentless and taught how to swindle tourists, leading to lives of little fulfillment or even corruption. Despite being separated, Jamal and Latika are reunited several times and in fact Jamal's only motivation in life is his love for her.

While the young, unknown, Indian actors are absolutely amazing in this film, the biggest kudos go to director Boyle, who creates an astonishing film. For Boyle to go from science fiction and zombie thrillers to taking on a project as daring and unusual as "Slumdog Millionaire" proves that he's not only a brave director, but a versatile one. His great success with making this film intense, eye-opening and full of heart all at the same time prove that he's also an incredible one. "Slumdog" is just the beginning for Boyle who might be one of the most progressive and talented directors working today.

It's hard to be completely blown away by a film whose core message is about destiny and leans on the fact that Jamal is simply fated to do this well in explaining what has unfolded, but like any good film ought to, Boyle makes you a fan of the characters and not care as much about the logistics as you might normally do. The fact that this film starts out so dramatic and real makes it hard to embrace the fairytale it blossoms into, but it's the great visual storytelling along the way that makes it so enjoyable.

~Steven C

Visit my site at http://moviemusereviews.com/
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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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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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An energetic, stylish and engaging fairytale that has enough about it to cover the main weaknesses it has while you are watching
bob the moo1 January 2009
This film came to the UK on a wave of Oscar hype and critical praise and I was looking forward to see it even though the reasons "why" it was good seemed a bit vague to me. On one hand it seems to be set in the gritty poverty of India, with descriptions of some very unpleasant scenes but then, on the other hand it was described as being uplifting and the feel-good movie of the year. I was curious how this conflicting information resolves itself within one film without off-balancing it.

The overall sweep of the film is very much a rag-to-riches story with love being the real heart of the film even if "money" (or a game-show for money) is the narrative driver and essentially it is modern day fairytale. In this regard it is an excellent film because you are engaged throughout, are totally on the side of the main characters and ultimately the viewer would give anything if they could only end the film happily. In this way it is uplifting and (ultimately) a really cheering film that is worth seeing with an audience because it is one of those things that unites an audience with a common feeling of cheer and goodwill. The method of delivery really helps the plot work because it is colourful, frantic and stylish.

I really enjoyed the fragmented time structure that uses the re-watching of the Millionaire questions in the police station as a trigger for flashbacks. This means we are gripped by several threads/times rather than it being a straight flow. It is not an amazingly unique device but the manner of it being put together prevents it ever being clumsy or obvious by how it transitions from one time to the other. Speaking of delivery and style, the film is understandably an Oscar contender generally thanks to its upbeat nature (after darker material last year and the current downturn in the world, Oscar probably will look for some feel-good stuff) but the areas I think it stands a great chance are those of cinematography, editing and direction. I say this because visually the film is a treat. It captures the colour of India with great camera work that puts us right in the scene. An example is the early chase through the slum, with a frantic camera, plenty of colour (in terms of palate, places and people) and a great visual style with the sun hitting the camera from above as it moves and other effective devices. With this much movement in the camera throughout the film, the editing is key in making these scenes work and it is excellent throughout – even putting the subtitles in a stylish and arresting fashion which helped sell the use of Hindi but does also match the style of the film more than standard text would have. As director Boyle delivers on all this and his use of music is great as well. It does feel like we have the grit and style of City of God but yet also the warm uplifting story of the very best the "underdog" genre can provide.

That it achieves this is a testament to how well the film is delivered because it does have to overcome the fact that the majority of the film presents us with a terrible world of poverty and suffering and then gradually pulls the main characters out of it. This is a problem that the delivery covers but ultimately the viewer is left with some fairly harrowing realities that haven't gone away by the end of the film. I totally understand those who love the film unquestioningly but I do agree with those that take pause on this issue and note that it is an aspect of the film that really doesn't stand up in the cold light of day. You see, it is gritty and it is unpleasant and, although not based on a true story, this is a reality in our world and to see so much of it in a film that ultimately leaves you feeling good about life and happy that everything worked out alright is not a mix that sat particularly well with me. It isn't helped by the dance number over the end credits, which involved lots of people and pushed the "isn't everything great" idea more than the proper conclusion of the story did. I didn't like this part of the credits for this reason and also it would have been nice to see a film based in India that didn't feel it had to "do" Bollywood.

The cast mostly play to the "fairytale" side of the film more than the grit, although the young children are very impressive in the first sections of the story. Patel took a minute to grow on me but, although not the most charismatic of performers, he is really steady as the underdog who is driven. Kapoor is a great villain, driven by a hate that says a lot about the class system in place. Pinto is stunning and has a much stronger presence than Patel. Khan works the investigation scenes well, which was important as these are where the story is told from. There are no real weak links in the performances – the fairy-tale nature of the tale means everyone has to focus on that side of it but they are still good.

The film is not as perfect as you will hear but it is still very good at what it does. It is a wonderfully stylish and slick romantic fairytale that is cheering and uplifting but of course this does give the slight problem that it is a stylish, slick and uplifting film that features horribly real images of cruelty and poverty. It doesn't manage to reconcile this but it is strong enough to make you ignore this for the vast majority of the time, leaving you tense, hopeful and weepy.
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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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10/10
A modern fairy tale...for the ages
johnleemk17 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I had heard some grumbling about this movie being overrated, and until about halfway through the movie, despite enjoying myself, I was willing to give it maybe 9 stars out of 10. But then it became more than the story of a couple of kids from the slums - it became a great retelling of two ancient stories: the kid from humble beginnings who makes history, and the boy who gets the girl, loses the girl, and...well, let's not spoil it, shall we? The second half, as we see the protagonists mature, combined with the climactic finale of the game show, is easily one of the best pieces of film I have ever seen in my life.

Yes, Slumdog Millionaire is incredibly unrealistic. Let's be frank, even giving generous leeway for coincidence, there is no way this could have happened. The women featured in the movie are nearly always perfectly pretty; the prominent usage of perfect English is extremely unrealistic; there is just no way Jamal's life could have worked out in such a way that he would know the right answers.

But if you think this is a criticism of the film, all I can say is that I'm really quite sorry for how seriously you take yourself. Great stories are not about the real world; great stories tell us about a world that could be, and make it seem almost as real to us as the world we live in. Slumdog Millionaire is a fairy tale for the ages, and for all its unrealism, is an uplifting and inspiring story of determination, love, and destiny. While I would say that I am often too eager to cut films some slack and give them 10 out of 10 just because I enjoyed myself thoroughly watching them, I have no qualms about giving Slumdog Millionaire a perfect 10. I would give it 11 if I could. This is a movie that deserves it.

A side-note on issues of realism: although I have never lived in India, I visited Kolkata for a week and the slums and way of life I saw were very similar to that depicted in the movie. I come from a multi-ethnic country with many Indians and huge income disparities; I have socialised with both the wealthy elite and the squatters living nearly hand to mouth. I can easily tell you that Slumdog Millionaire is off in many ways. But every timeless tale is not quite accurate, and I don't hear anyone ragging on Snow White or George Washington's cherry tree for their realist faux pas. Slumdog Millionaire is a beautiful story, and while I'm not sure it stands in that class, it is one of the most amazing things to have ever been filmed. Watch it.
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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
Bad Movie
stunningseshu15 July 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I frankly don't know why people in my country India were really excited about this movie and of course it won 3 Oscar's but is it worth it?

I think anyone who had not heard Rahman's music before only can applaud for a real stupid like Jai Ho it was not that bad though but an Oscar is really not needed,Rahman is lot better than that in fact he is the maestro.

Coming to the movie there are some real logical mistakes,what kind of a parson working in a call center would ask his peon to do his work which involves speaking in a very formal accent and show me a slum dweller from any part of the world who speaks a formal accent and many more other goofs.

Coming to the performances dev patel acted very badly and he never looked like a person from the slum but the kids and female lead gave good performances the kids were ultimate.

The camera work and the screenplay was good the music was good though the bad song won the Oscar other songs like O Saya,Gansta Blues were good.

Overall this was a bad try of making a movie of the quality of Cidade de deus.For Indians and Asians it is waste of time to watch this movie and others u will get a glimpse of making style of Indian movies.
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1/10
Cliché
mariobg8625 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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7/10
City of God Has One Vital Thing Slumdog Millionaire Does Not
alexkolokotronis30 January 2009
Slumdog Millionaire is one of the most critically acclaimed movies of 2008 but the hype surrounding it is a bit undeserved. Don't get me wrong, this is at the very least a good movie and is quite a terrific movie 2/3 the way through. What the movie does though in the last 1/3 is make the fatal mistake of turning into a Hollywood or maybe in this case a Bollywood movie. It takes away from that genuine and satisfying feeling.

The acting all around was very good particularly from Dev Patel and the small kids. There performance are probably the only thing that is overlooked in this film. Without much of these very good performances the movie would not have been at the level it was at.The directing of Danny Boyle was his best yet. The look of the film was amazing and many screen shots of India were breathtaking. The musical score was very fitting to the style of the movie. It was one of the best scores of 2008. Where this film fell apart was at the writing. Towards the end its withdrew into a standard romance. It was no longer the great and amazing adventure we had witnessed for most of the movie. The complex relations seemed to be over simplified and it does the safe thing to do in the approach of tone but if taken into a drastically different direction could have lead it to be a real classic. Yet instead of ever peaking or sky rocketing to greatness it had plateaued and didn't deliver the way I had hoped it would, this largely in part by the failure of the screenplay.

Many people have compared this film to City of God because the film are actually similar in many ways. Yet City of God has something Slumdog Millionaire does not have which is depth and character motivations. These things are vital to these kind of movies being successful. City of God seemed to have a more plausible story because the story was more linear. Events took place as a result of other events. This did not happen in Slumdog Millionaire, the story was more chopped up and too many of the events just seemed to pop up out of no where. Slumdog Millionaire did take a very ambitious approach in the way it was made which is commendable. Is this a 1st rate movie though? The answer to that is no.
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1/10
Will someone say "Emperor has no clothes!" 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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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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