Thursday, December 25, 2008

Slumdog Millionaire

After all the honors and accolades this movie has been collecting I really was looking forward to be able to watch it and probably I had big expectations. The movie is not bad as I believe is highly entertaining and has acceptable production values, but I do not understand why is getting so much attention from those that are supposed to know about movies, i.e. critics’.

I like some Bollywood and Hindi movies, I like UK/USA productions with Hindi stories, I like love stories with happy endings and I liked Slumdog Millionaire; but to me is like many other movies that I liked with a story that found a very interesting resource (the game) to be told in an original way that definitively makes it a crowd pleaser. Then I believe that the story has been told before many times, perhaps differently like in City of God –that I haven’t seen and most likely wont see as I admit I’m a little scare of Brazilian movies because the stories they tell and the way they tell them. In this sense, Slumdog Millionaire can be outstanding because the “way” the director decided to tell the story, but that’s it.

Perhaps if I didn’t had expectations I could have enjoyed the movie more and definitively that’s the bad side of doing this blog, but fortunately it does not happen that often or I would stop doing the blog and finding information about movies.

Anyway as most of you know, the story is about a kid, Jamal, that after an anti-Muslim crowd kills his mother, his brother, Salim, and him are left to survive in the streets. While escaping the crowd, they find a little girl, Latika, which Salim does not want to help but Jamal welcomes to the duo as the third musketeer. If you see the story chronologically, what follows is the sometimes hard to watch story of three kids growing up in the street and a strong bond that turns into love between Latika and Jamal. The story is not told sequentially, as each question of the game takes us back to the reason why Jamal knows the answer as he explains to the police officer after police took him for suspicion that he cheated.

Performances by child non-actors are charming and really take you inside the story to make you feel that you’re one of the children running, doing whatever they do and growing up plus surviving in the most terrible urban conditions that the street life can give to anyone. Have to admit than from the grown-up characters, Dev Patel (best known for his Skins role) is the best with an excellent performance that makes you believe absolutely everything he’s involve with.

Directed by Danny Boyle and co-directed in India by Loveleen Tandan, the film shines because the way the screenplay writers and the directors decided to tell the story. But under Bollywood standards I find that this movie has average production values and if I think about UK productions with Hindi stories, I also think that has average productions values. I find that what makes this movie outstanding -when thinking about tech specs- is the editing that flawlessly take you back and forth in time.

The movie has 4 Golden Globes nominations and up-to-date has won around 17 already announced awards. Please browse the blog to find many of them. Still, as I mentioned in the beginning, I truly do not understand the reason why the movie has moved so many critics and those responsible to decide or vote awards. But with all the commotion this movie has made, I would not be surprised if gets some Oscar nominations and perhaps the only one I will understand is for Best something for Dev Patel.

Anyway I do recommend the movie because is highly entertaining and will engage you since the very beginning when the police officer is torturing Jamal until the very commercial and crowd pleaser happy ending.


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