Slumdog Millionaire Movie Review
Four Time Golden Globe Winner is a Hymn to Life
Director Danny Boyle, whose previous credits include Trainspotting, Sunshine and 28 Days Later, is in top form with his latest release, Slumdog Millionaire.
Telling the story of two brothers, Jamal and Samil, Slumdog Millionaire is an inspirational story of two people who pulled themselves out of the ghetto and escaped from the squalid environment of the slums that surround Mumbai in India.
Jamal and Samil live the slums of Mumbai, surrounded by garbage and violence. When they are eight years old, Muslims suddenly attack their slum and kill their mother, forcing them to fend for themselves. The movie is as much about the realities of street life in India as it is about Jamal and Samil’s attempts to escape from that life.
Following this, the two brothers are forced to survive on their own, taking odd jobs, pick pocketing and even posing as tour guides at the Taj Mahal. They also have numerous run-ins with the Indian criminal underworld. At one point, Jamal and Salim find themselves at the mercy of a group of Indian gangsters who want to blind them and train them to be singing beggars.
Slumdog Millionaire blends Hollywood and Bollywood
Boyle used many of the conventions found in India’s Bollywood films while shooting Slumdog Millionaire. For example, the chase sequence at the beginning of the film was inspired by a similar sequence seen in the Bollywood movie Satya, among others.
What makes Slumdog Millionaire different from other Bollywood movies is the presence of Danny Boyle. In recent years there have been attempts to bring Bollywood films meant for the domestic Indian market to North American theatres. These attempts have generally been considered failures, for numerous reasons including a perceived lack of production values and the general lack of familiarity with the Bollywood format among North American audiences.
The partnership of Danny Boyle and Indian film maker Loveleen Tandan mixed a western story telling sensibility with the more exotic Bollywood tone. This combined with songs by Indian pop stars gave the movie an exotic feel, but at the same time made the movie easily accessible to western audiences.
This combination of the exotic and the familiar is what has made Slumdog Millionaire so successful. The movie is also an inspirational story of a young man who has worked his way up from the gutter to win the girl of his dreams. It also serves to personify and personalize the struggles that India as a nation has undergone over the past several decades, as it has struggled to update itself and become more in step with the modern world.
With four Golden Globes under its belt already and ten Oscar nominations, Slumdog Millionaire is, without a doubt one of the best films of the past year.
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- February 2, 2009 / 12:59 am
- Suite 101