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Slumdog Millionaire

by

Jeff Nelson

Slumdog Millionaire is entertaining, heart-warming, and very well-made. Highly recommended.

Slumdog Millionaire
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It seems like each year there is an underdog at the Academy Awards. Slumdog Millionaire was just that. After Warner Bros. thought the film wouldn't draw a large audience, they sold it to Fox Searchlight. I'm positive that Warner. Bros. slapped themselves in the face for selling this motion picture when they almost put this direct-to-DVD. Fox Searchlight didn't only receive a little under $300 million at the box office worldwide, but eight Academy Awards.

After coming within one question of winning it all on the Indian version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?," 18-year-old Jamal Malik is arrested on suspicion that he cheated his way to the top. While in custody, he regales a jaded inspector with remarkable tales of his life on the streets and the story of the woman he loved and lost. The fact that the film centers around the game show "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" sounds ridiculous, but it's effective. Underneath it all is a well-rounded love story. From the moment the film begins, it grabs hold of the attention of the viewer and doesn't let go until it ends. The screenplay doesn't simply display the characters as is, but shows them growing up. Audiences get the opportunity to see each of the roles as children, grow up, and mature. The amount of depth and development is great. The only complaint I have about the screenplay is the ending. It's predicable and feels a bit formulaic. Otherwise, Slumdog Millionaire boasts a very well-written script.

The script isn't the only element that the film can brag about. The acting department is strong. Since the three main characters are shown growing up, different actors play the same characters at different ages. The most impressive performances were given by the older actors. Dev Patel delivers the goods as Older Jamal. Not only does he represent the character well, but he immerses audiences in the role. Freida Pinto is phenomenal as Older Latika. She feels extremely natural in the role. Out of the three primary characters, Jamal's brother, Salim, is shown the least. However, Madhur Mittal still pulls off the character. The acting certainly was a big part of the film and Director Danny Boyle definitely aided in bringing the talent to the screen.

Despite the fact that the movie is mostly a drama/romance, the visuals play a large part in Slumdog Millionaire. Danny Boyle has always been known to use breathtaking visuals in each film he creates. This piece of cinema is no exception. The camera angles are interesting and draws the viewers further into the presentation. Even the audio department is impressive, to say the least. The surround channels are constantly active, whether it be ambiance or intense amounts of sound coming from the back channels. The film switches between speaking in English and Hindi, however all of the dialogue is crisp and easily heard. The bass is sure to shake the foundation on several occasions throughout. Slumdog Millionaire has an extraordinary technical presentation. After Warner Bros. didn't believe in the film's success, audiences worldwide highly enjoyed the movie upon its release. This is yet another fantastic piece of cinema Danny Boyle can add to his list of great films he has directed. Even though this isn't a movie for everybody, it's fantastic cinema. Despite the fact it's predictable, there aren't very many issues to be found. The home video presentation is faithful to Danny Boyle's style. It's always intriguing to find a film come out of nowhere and completely steal the show from the big Hollywood blockbusters. Slumdog Millionaire is entertaining, heart-warming, and very well-made. Highly recommended.

My Rating = Four and One Half Stars

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