Slumdog Millionaire

Our present may be the total of what happened in our past -- and this has seldom been expressed in film as much as in Slumdog Millionaire, where we see an underdog on the verge of riches (and more) and how his unfolding life led him to this point.

Jamal Malik (Dev Patel) is one question away from winning the grand prize on India's Who Wants to be a Millionaire? game show. But Jamal is from India's Mumbai slum, leading to the fear that he's made it as far as he did by cheating. Before going back for the final question, Jamal is hauled off by the police. First he is tortured, then Jamal tells the skeptical police inspector (Irrfan Khan) the tale of his life.

As Jamal and the inspector watch the video of Jamal on the game show, flashbacks show Jamal's life, from his childhood full of tragedy and fun to what led him to the show. Jamal's two companions are Salim (Madhur Mittal), Jamal's older brother who is both protective of Jamal and pragmatic and selfish, and Latika (Freida Pinto), the little girl whose life winds up intertwined with Jamal and Salim.

Co-directed by Danny Boyle and Loveleen Tandan, Slumdog Millionaire is an impressive accomplishment. The story is part tragedy (no sugarcoating the devastating poverty of India here), part romance, part drama, with plenty of humor along the way. The cast is very good, from the multiple actors portraying the main characters (since we see them as little kids, teenagers, and young adults), to Anil Kapoor as the too-smooth gameshow host and Irrfan Khan as the police officer who gradually sees how an ordinary person from the slums could get more answers right than lawyers and doctors. I loved Slumdog Millionaire and recommend it to anyone who wants a memorable movie experience.

Overall grade: A

Reviewed by James Lynch


Chad Cloman said...

My reviewer (Screen It!) gave the movie an 8.5/10, which is the highest rating I've ever seen from him.

GGBlog said...

Quite agree with you that Slumdog is exceptionally well made and combines all those ingredients that we love about watching good movies : humor, action, romance and drama. I enjoyed it immensely and have posted more thoughts here.