Danny Boyle certainly has a broad range of movies under his belt, from the cult classic Trainspotting to the not really a zombie movie 28 Days Later and the feel good inspirational Millions to the Sci-Fi of Sunshine. You can’t really say Boyle is method director.
But now he seems to have hit an even higher note with Slumdog Millionaire, clearing up at the Golden Globes with 4 wins.
Slumdog Millionaire is the story of Jamal Malik and is set against the epic backdrop of the slums of Mumbai, India. From the first time we see him as a little boy, we know that Jamal has an infectious, happy go lucky attitude, and it’s something he’s going to need to hang onto as his life was hard enough before religious violence made him and orphan.
Living off the rubbish heaps and back streets Jamal’s older brother is always with him, looking out for him, but it’s Jamal who notices Latika and falls in love with this little waif of a girl, looking out for her.
Thing in Jamal’s life never seem to go smoothly, just when luck shines on him, something bad happens.
What does all this have to do with Who Wants To Be A Millionaire you may ask? Well, Jamal’s run of luck sees him accepted to play on the show, and on the verge of winning the big prize he is arrested by the police, who think he’s cheating, because how else could a slumdog answer so many questions?
The movie starts out with a young man being tortured, accused of cheating, we don’t know it at first, but this is Jamal. After the torture doesn’t work, the chief of Police sits him down with a recording of the previous nights TV show and goes through the questions, wanting to know how a Slumdog could possibly know the answers. Question by question we see, through flash backs, the story of Jamal’s hard life, and the incredible coincidence of the questions being asked on the game show.
But as the police chief soon finds out, it wasn’t for the money that Jamal wanted to go onto the show.
Slumdog Millionaire is an absolute stunner of a movie, taking us from the desperation of the slums, through rubbish heap survival, on to India’s biggest games show, and the chance of a life-changing win. Along the way we see the different paths that both brothers took, the older brother’ focus was money, and through his pursuit became a hardened criminal lackey. Jamal on the other had was driven through life by the pursuit of love, always on the lookout for his first love Latika, who always seems to be disappearing out of his life.
Slumdog Millionaire gives us an eye into one of the biggest contrasts of our consumer world, the monolithic gap between poverty and unattainable wealth, but it also serves up a good dose of hope, and not just the American dream where any one can become rich, but in the human drama of life where companionship and love are the important staples of life.
If you don’t leave the cinema with a smile on your face after watching Slumdog Millionaire, I would suggest you rush to the local A&E and get them to check to see if you still have a pulse.
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read.
Slumdog Millionaire is a story of contrast. But not just in the expected ways. It’s about growing up in a difficult place and yet being able to rise above it. It’s about love and hate in a harsh unforgiving world.
Both dramatic and comedic Slumdog Millionaire takes you on a rollercoaster journey through the life of Jamal. Everything has meaning, and culminates in his ability to answer questions most people would struggle with answering.
Jamal’s honesty contrasts with his brother’s dishonesty and they take different roads to meet their own destinies, each entwined with Latika, the beautiful maiden in this modern fairytale like story.
It is easy to see why this movie has had such rave reviews and has just swept up a few golden globes. It’s a well-written, well-acted, well-directed film showing a group of people most of us would rather forget – the slumdogs of this world.
Well worth a view.
Reviewed by: Dione Read
Duration: 120 mins.
Genre: Drama, Comedy, Adaptation.
Director: Danny Boyle.
Actors: Dev Patel, Anil Kapoor, Saurabh Shukla, Rajendranath Zutshi, Freida Pinto, Irfan Khan.
Release Date: 5 February, 2009.