Monday, December 29, 2008

Slumming it

“Slumdog Millionaire” is many things. A love story. A rag-to-riches fable. A peek into the dichotomous worlds that is India. But most of all it is reminder that a simple story told well is why we go to the movies in the first place. This is the story of “slumdog” Jamal, a Mumbai orphan who has lived on the streets with his older brother Salim since he was 7 who now finds himself one question away from winning 20 million rupees on the Indian version of “Who Wants to Be A Millionaire.” We see Jamal's life story told largely through a series of flashbacks – from witnessing his mother's violent death to conning tourists at the Taj Mahal and searching for his childhood love Latika.

“Slumdog” mixes a classic Dickensian story with the kinetic beauty and brutality of modern-day India. Along the way Jamal is the proverbial Oliver in this twisty tale. Does it make you feel good? Yes. Does it contain scenes of murder, torture, child prostitution and abject poverty. Yes. Do those seem impossible to pull off together? Heck, yes. Yet pull it off it does. And feel good you most definitely will. British director Danny Boyle (“Trainspotting,” “28 Days Later,” “Millions”) and his Indian casting director Loveleen Tandan (whose contribution was so essential she was given co-director credit on the film) have weaved together a piece of pure movie magic – a star-crossed romance with a social conscience that doesn't shy away from the rough stuff but still makes you want to stand up and cheer.

Of course, it doesn't hurt that Jamal's true love is played later in life by the luminous newcomer Freida Pinto. Let me tell you, just Googling her does not do her justice. Lovely reader meenoo sent me a link to her before I'd seen the movie and I thought she was pretty. But, woo doggie, then I saw her on the big screen and now I think she is otherworldly. Her cheekbones are the stuff that close-up cameras dream of. In short, if I could summarize, to wrap things up: go see this movie. Consider it my belated Christmas gift to you – you can thank me later.


narcolepsy_slds said...

I'll thank you after watching it later tonight.
And somehow I am happy that Danny Boyle is successful again.

citizen spot said...

This movie is definitely on my must see list. I would like to nominate this photo from Frieda's gallery for a future "Tank Top Tuesday". Oh my!

Cunty McFucklesticks said...

Probably won't see the movie, coz I'm lazy, but I've read the book it's based on and it was very moving. So I hope this film does it justice.

azbabe said...

Yes, it was all those things. Uplifting, inspiring. The child actors were really good as well.

let me dance said...

nice to see you again!!

i was laughing..i mean
the poster. i mean the options.
how do you think? to find true love
what people need?

of course should be smart, and
money..yea.. very helpful..

what do you think? (^-^)

thank you for the post.
ah.. i don't know why i'm giggling now.. a..funny day..

i think i like your blog. see you.

let me dance said... was a lost love. (-_-);;

the other options are luck..
and destiny...

hum... to find...
actually the timing is the most important i luck..
but what about...(-"-) umm..

i don't think destiny is important
but should have good luck, smarts,
and money. think about if you don't
have money how can you get there?
by walk? it'll take forever.

Sapere Aude said...

Yay for all those who appreciate beauty from around the world.

Deb on the Rocks said...

I finally saw Slumdog Saturday and it is all that and more. Frieda's long arms and legs -- she hypnotized me when she moved. I want to buy yellow scarves for everyone.

Mia said...

Portuguese surname (Pinto)... niiiice! ;)

Fire Berry said...

I'm thanking you now! A brilliant film!

Elizabeth said...

This is in a tie with Milk for the best movie I've seen this year. And this woman is beyond words beautiful. Thanks for that picture :)

dc said...

Seeing this tomorrow! Had promised a friend - who has seen it in preview - that I would not read anything about it, and will just to go see it. Unfortunately it has been hard to avoid endlessly effusive reviews of it off and online.

Looking forward to it. I get this sneaky feeling its this year's Juno.

And now you've introduced me to the female lead...icing on the cake :)