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Author Topic: Slumdog Millionaire (2008)  (Read 13575 times)
The Firecracker
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« on: January 12, 2009, 12:35:48 AM »

I hadn't seen a frame of this movie (not in ads or anything) until right now.
I was checking the showtimes for tomorrow afternoon when something told me to have a peek at the trailer.
There must be a God because I'm glad I didn't spend any cash on this "feel good about yourself" trash...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIzbwV7on6Q

Somebody better have a convincing arguement as to why I should go see it.
I really want to know if I'm making a mistake.

« Last Edit: January 25, 2009, 11:47:36 PM by The Firecracker » Logged



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« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2009, 12:56:25 AM »

You seriously mean the title wasn't enough?

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« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2009, 01:12:37 AM »

You seriously mean the title wasn't enough?


I really didn't know what to think of it, all I knew was that it was supposed to be one of the best movies of the year and I haven't heard a negative review yet.

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« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2009, 01:36:26 AM »

I hadn't seen a frame of this movie (not in ads or anything) until right now.
I was checking the showtimes for tomorrow afternoon when something told me to have a peek at the trailer.
There must be a God because I'm glad I didn't spend any cash on this "feel good about yourself" trash...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIzbwV7on6Q

Somebody better have a convincing arguement as to why I should go see it.
I really want to know if I'm making a mistake.

You should see it because it's a fucking fairy tale. You don't like fairy tale's, asshole? Tongue

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The Firecracker
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« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2009, 02:01:02 AM »

You should see it because it's a fucking fairy tale. You don't like fairy tale's, asshole? Tongue

I'd have to be in the right mood for one.

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« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2009, 02:19:33 AM »

I'd have to be in the right mood for one.

Well, all I can say is be in the right mood. It's a preposterous story and I loved it.

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ShortFuse
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« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2009, 02:23:05 AM »

Sexy. Indian. Chick.

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« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2009, 02:23:38 AM »

Sexy. Indian. Chick.

Truth. Spoken. Through. Word.

It's a power thing!

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« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2009, 08:45:20 PM »

I just got back from my viewing of this film, and to sum it up in one sentence:

It's fucking awesome.

I didn't have overly high expectations but the movie consistently found a way to entertain me, amuse me, even enthrall me. At the end during the dance sequence, I was smiling like a madman and feeling really great about myself. At the risk of sounding presumptuous, I think that's the mark of a good movie, but I'd be willing to go beyond that and call it great.

The premise of the movie - using the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? game as a framing device - is quite clever and provides wonderful payoffs throughout (and its share of laughter as well). Boyle's direction is quite good, although he reuses a lot of the same techniques throughout the film - how many "zooming out to reveal the whole extent of something" shots do we need? Still, Boyle makes up for this and a slight overuse of shaky cam/slo-mo with stunning cinematography and some wonderfully creative editing choices (several neat dissolve wipes deserve special attention). The acting is solid all around, and Anil Kapoor's slimy gameshow host deserves particular mention. The movie maintains an almost whimsical sense of humor while providing a dark and serious undertone throughout, so the payoff at the end is extremely cathartic.

I've heard any people (especially on IMDB) say the first two thirds or so are great but the end falls flat. To them I say, WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU!?! True, the movie falls back on cliche a bit towards the end, but really, were you expecting otherwise with the set-up you got?

It is in many ways "feel-good trash", as the heathen FC says, but I see no reason to criticize the film for that. Why is a movie bad if it makes you feel good about yourself? The movie has a number of incredibly dark and violent moments throughout - namely the race riot in the slums and the scenes at the "orphanage" - to balance out the sentimental elements anyway, so it's a moot criticism.

Anyway, this movie gets a high 9/10 and makes at least my top three of the year. Since none of the other GG Best Picture nominees have been given wide release save Frost/Nixon, I think its victory is more than fair.

PS: Anybody notice the nod to OUATIA?

« Last Edit: January 17, 2009, 08:46:38 PM by Groggy » Logged


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« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2009, 08:49:10 PM »


PS: Anybody notice the nod to OUATIA?
No, what is it?

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« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2009, 08:50:12 PM »

The scene where Selim and Jamal are watching Latika dance through a peep hole.

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« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2009, 10:08:18 PM »

Full-length review:

Quote
My Oscar quest continues tonight with Danny Boyle (and Loveleen Tandan)'s Slumdog Millionaire, the delightful little film that came seemingly out of nowhere to win Best Picture at the Golden Globes last weekend. I went in without much expectations; I only knew vaguely what the film was about, and didn't really know what to expect out of it. Much to my surprise, I got a wonderfully joyous, enjoyable and excellent piece of entertainment. To use an awfully hackneyed but most appropriate cliche, it's a magical film, a crowd-pleaser of the highest caliber.

Jamal Malik (Dev Patel) is a young Indian man who finds himself one question away from a 20 million rupee prize on India's version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, hosted by the sleazy and selfish Prem Kumar (Anil Kapoor). Arrested by police on suspicion of cheating, Jamal has to prove his innocence and account for his knowledge of the show's esoteric and eclectic questions. We see in flashback his trouble life in Bombay (Mumbai): his mother is murdered by Hindus in a race riot, and he joins his brother Selim (Madhur Mittal) and orphan girl Latika (Freida Pinto) on the run. They encounter a gang of criminals who take in children and force them to work as beggars and singers (eyeballs optional). Selim and Jamal escape, but Latika is not so lucky. As they grow older, Selim slides into a life of crime, graduating from petty crime to working as a henchman of a Mumbai crime lord (Ferroz Abbas Khan) while Jamal takes on various menial jobs to keep himself alive while trying to locate Latika - who happens to be the wife of Selim's boss. If I were tell to you that everything hinged on the game show's final question, would you be at all surprised?

The film wonderfully balances a sense of almost whimsical humor and light-hearted escapism with a dramatic storyline with dark undertones. Like Australia, it works best as a fairytale Valentine to India; a fairytale with serious undertones, but a fairytale nonetheless. It balances out a depiction of the horrible poverty in the more with the beauty of the country, and more importantly, a depiction of how humanity flourishes even in the most desperate of situation. It's a life-affirming movie, and I mean that in the best possible way; it will make you feel good about life and you'll come out of the theater with a grin on your face.

As a narrative, the film is perfectly constructed and expertly paced. The use of the gameshow as a framing device to string the narrative along is quite clever and effective; it may be a gimmick, but it works extremely well, providing the movie a sense of drive, and a share of ironic humor as well. The movie does an excellent job with its characters. Jamal is an Everyman, a good person trapped in a hideous situation, and his earnest attempts to gain Latika's affection and keep himself alive and out of trouble make him an immediately sympathetic protagonist. Selim undergoes the most impressive character arc, as he develops from a headstrong young boy into a budding criminal, and his increasingly conflicted feelings about his job and position. Latika isn't seen as much more than a prize to be won, but given the story's focus on Jamal that's an understandable fault. All of these plots and characters intersect with almost Dickensian improbability, but Boyle does it in such a way as to render any complaints moot. If the movie veers towards cliche and melodrama towards the end, well, it's largely earned it with what's come before.

In its depiction of the slums of Mumbai and the attendant squalor, Slumdog lacks the gritty realism of something like City of God, but anyone who goes into this film expecting such is wrongheaded to begin with. It bears comparison to the childhood scenes of Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in America (Boyle even inserts a clever homage when Jamal and Selim watch Natika dancing through a peephole), a polished and romanticized but nonetheless believable depiction of life amongst the dregs of society. Of course, Jamal and Selim's adventures through Mumbai are romanticized to no small degree; their life as petty criminals is romanticized and made light of, but this is to be expected. It's hard to argue that scenes like the race riot between Hindus and Muslims, the orphanage's blinding of children (so they will make more money as beggars), or adolescent Latika's being sold into sexual slavery, are light and frivolous material. To be sure, it's not a documentary depiction of slum life, but the movie is a fantasy drama, not a social outrage film. The weaving of reality and fantasy is done expertly, and I feel only a churl would complain about this aspect of the film.

Technically, the film is quite accomplished. Other than an overreliance on slo-mo and shaky cam (and a few too many "zoom out to reveal the full extent of something" shots), Boyle and Tandan's direction is assured, capturing both the squalor and beauty of India without sentimentalizing it to an excessive degree. The editing is quite striking, particularly the creative use of dissolve wipes throughout. A.R. Rahmen contributes a beautiful, evocative score, which works well with a selection of Indian pop songs.

The acting is top-notch. Dev Patel gives a wonderful performance as Jamal, the lovable Indian Everyman. The gorgeous Freida Pinto makes her Latika an endearing character in spite of lack of screen time, and Madhur Mittal gives a strong performance as Selim. All of the child actors do exceptional work, managing to be funny and believable without being at all cloying. The best performance is Anil Kapoor as the slimy, duplictious game show host; he completely steals the show whenever he's on screen, and provides a wonderfully comic performance.

Slumdog Millionaire may not be the best film of all time, but best film of 2008? It's pretty close, though I might still rate Australia and Doubt ahead of it. (And until more of the GG Best Picture nominees get wide release, I think it's more than fair to crown it as such.) It's a magical film, and I think you'd have to be the ultimate cynic and grouch to dislike it. Although, God knows there are more than enough of you out there. But for me, it earns its sentimentality and the undeniably cliched conclusion. Dare I be so bold as to suggest that if a movie makes its audience feel good, then it's a good, perhaps even a great film? I think I dare.

Rating: 9/10 - Highest Recommendation


http://nothingiswrittenfilm.blogspot.com/2009/01/slumdog-millionaire.html

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« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2009, 11:28:05 PM »

excellent review, groggy  Afro

I liked it alot myself, but some of the improbabilities in the film distracted me towards the beginning (the whole Colt fiasco put me off) but i got around realizing what kind of story it is.

Throughout the film i was really thinking of how the Three Muskateers fit into it. I had just finished the book a day or two before watching i was trying to see how their characters fit with each other but i found merely tenative links, but once i got to the part where salim gives latika the phone i knew i should have been thinking of The Man in the Iron Mask instead.

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« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2009, 10:03:54 AM »

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Of course, Jamal and Selim's adventures through Mumbai are romanticized to no small degree; their life as petty criminals is romanticized and made light of, but this is to be expected. It's hard to argue that scenes like the race riot between Hindus and Muslims, the orphanage's blinding of children (so they will make more money as beggars), or adolescent Latika's being sold into sexual slavery, are light and frivolous material. To be sure, it's not a documentary depiction of slum life, but the movie is a fantasy drama, not a social outrage film. The weaving of reality and fantasy is done expertly, and I feel only a churl would complain about this aspect of the film.
Why were you looking at me when you said that?

Actually, I don't complain so much as point out that when slum life is depicted as being so cinematically beautiful it is hard to work up any compelling case for why the boys need to get the hell out of Dodge. And the riot looked like a riot--in the good sense. I wanted to take part! The guy from the man-in-flames union was even on hand: my old friend! What a pretty thing a fire is. Let's set the whole world alight and get Danny Boyle to film it. Annihilation is art.

I know, it's only a movie, and it's only a fantasy at that. And I did enjoy it (you may recall that I gave it an 8/10). But it is so lacking in intellectual content that there is no need to see it more than once. For me, a movie has to be more than a thrill ride. After the ride is over, I need something to reflect upon. This film doesn't have such a something.

Still, when you hold it up against what else is currently on offer, it stands out. A well-constructed story, pleasingly told. We don't get many of those anymore.

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« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2009, 10:14:36 AM »

Throughout the film i was really thinking of how the Three Muskateers fit into it. I had just finished the book a day or two before watching i was trying to see how their characters fit with each other but i found merely tenative links, but once i got to the part where salim gives latika the phone i knew i should have been thinking of The Man in the Iron Mask instead.
Well observed. In fact, the use to which Dumas's book is ultimately put, in the form of the final question, speaks to the excellence of the screenplay. This is plot construction that must warm Robert McKay's heart.

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