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Slumdog Millionaire
Year:
2008
Country:
USA, UK
Genre:
Crime, Drama, Thriller, Romance
IMDB rating:
8.0
Director:
Danny Boyle, Loveleen Tandan
Dev Patel as Youngest Jamal
Saurabh Shukla as Sergeant Srinivas
Anil Kapoor as Prem
Jeneva Talwar as Vision Mixer
Freida Pinto as Latika
Irrfan Khan as Police Inspector
Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail as Youngest Salim
Ayush Mahesh Khedekar as Youngest Jamal
Jira Banjara as Airport Security Guard
Sheikh Wali as Airport Security Guard
Sanchita Choudhary as Jamal's Mother
Himanshu Tyagi as Mr Nanda
Storyline: The story of Jamal Malik, an 18 year-old orphan from the slums of Mumbai, who is about to experience the biggest day of his life. With the whole nation watching, he is just one question away from winning a staggering 20 million rupees on India's (2000) (Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?) But when the show breaks for the night, police arrest him on suspicion of cheating; how could a street kid know so much? Desperate to prove his innocence, Jamal tells the story of his life in the slum where he and his brother grew up, of their adventures together on the road, of vicious encounters with local gangs, and of Latika, the girl he loved and lost. Each chapter of his story reveals the key to the answer to one of the game show's questions. Each chapter of Jamal's increasingly layered story reveals where he learned the answers to the show's seemingly impossible quizzes. But one question remains a mystery: what is this young man with no apparent desire for riches really ...
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Reviews
Oscar waste...again
After winning eight Oscars I was all set to experience a masterpiece. I dunno, but I didn't get it. Do I need to watch it again? Is this a new genre? What am I missing? I did not enjoy the cinema theater experience - as I rented it and watched it in HD. That might've contributed to my lack of understanding or sensory deprivation.

Hence, I saw what seemed like a "young love" story set against the sometimes horrid background of Mumbai, India. The slums and all that goes with it. The flashback sequences with the young children, then as young teens is compelling. Then suddenly we're thrust into the future rooting for the still young Jamal Malik the contestant on India's version of "Who wants to be a millionaire." All of the questions somehow reflect and ignite memories of his street urchin childhood. This is not an innovative concept. We can all guess the ending.

I grant you - the photography is beautiful and I guess the kudos for sound, editing, etc., that the academy bestowed are probably deserved. Dev Patel as the older Jamal seems out of sync. He's just too pretty and does not fit the part.

Well... One of the best movies... ever made? Nope! Not even the best of 2008. Good, compelling, interesting and no more.
2009-06-01
Gumdog Godzillianaire
I'm usually pretty good at coming up with witty, poignant titles for my reviews, but this movie doesn't even deserve that.

Every few years someone from a rich Western culture makes a film about a poor Eastern culture which makes rich Western audiences feel better about themselves because now they somehow connect with poor Easterners. Slumdog Millionaire is one such film.

It's horribly contrived, like an ABC afterschool special. Themes which could otherwise be handled with interesting complexity are bashed over your head with all the subtlety of the Bhopal disaster. The good guy is lily-white good, and the bad guys are evil satans. Even when the good guy must do something unpleasant (such as fighting to protect a loved one), he cowers and lets his evil friend do the dirtywork. This film is nothing but a polarization of good vs. evil which reduces it (and Indian culture) to a silly comic book. But they cloak it in lots of tear-jerking footage of poverty, beggars and injustice so it makes you feel like you're watching something of social significance.

I lived in India for several years. I've seen the slums, the poverty, the despair & the hope of the people. It's much more complicated than what this silly travel brochure offers. I keep hoping one day someone will get it right, but alas, not this time. I'm sure someone will try again in 5 years or so.
2010-12-08
Only good if you don't think about it.
I accept that I saw this film post-hype. It was never going to be the Citizen Kane that people seem to think it is. But cripes, it was fluff! Not only fluff, but cold fluff: while something like Mamma Mia can draw you in with its silliness and generous humour, I felt nothing but boredom at Dev Patel's constant grump. I didn't want him to get the girl.

And, for all the talk about it being a 'love story against all the odds', the odds are so disparate as to be totally random! If you're going to write a fable, at least make your symbols coherent: is he fighting against discrimination because of his background? Is he fighting against people who use him? Or is he just fighting against his brother, who for some unknown reason is a really bad apple? (on that last point, this really annoyed me: i really don't buy his brother! If we agree its a moral fable, then what on earth does he represent?) Another massive problem with the film is the total lack of character development. So Dev Patel wants this girl... er, OK, why is this? It just seems to be a given. Can you imagine them having a happy life after the film? Can you imagine any of the characters doing ANYTHING outside the bubble of this plot? Can you say anything meaningful about the characters in the film that don't revolve around plot necessitudes? No? Well, maybe that's because these characters are about as undeveloped as your average goldfish.

Basically, I accept that people will say that Slumdog isn't a heavyweight film; its a bit of romantic nonsense in an economic climate when we all need cheering up. OK then: watch Forrest Gump or Mamma Mia. Because they're far more warm and generous than this anti-social, individualistic film. The icing on the cake came at the climax of the film, when all the people of Mumbai watch Dev Patel win the show. Where did this community theme come from in a film which is ostensibly about this one kid fighting everyone else? Perhaps Boyle thought the only way to sell a film about India was to make it with lots of anonymous happy smiling people doing a dance. How very dated.
2009-03-31
who am i to say anything...
to those non-Indians and the conformist Indians here's a little bit of perspective...

when i write what i have to say some of you may think that I've been hurt by the negative depiction of Mumbai... well, not at all, actually i was hoping for a more gritty, realistic, up-close depiction rather than a 'long-shot' impersonal superficial one...

slum-dog millionaire is not a great film, slum-dog millionaire is not a good film. it's an OK film.

first the good things... cinematography is edgy and mind-blowing... editing is razor sharp... sound design is amazing...

but,

it is very hard to digest slum kids talking in English, harder still to digest is their (kind of) fake UK accent. also the cops speaking in English, the local mafia speaking in English...

the acting (in Hindi) of Salim and Jamaal though over-the-top, is passable. but once they grow up and start speaking in English, it's pathetic.

the story which is basically a love story between Jamaal and Latika is lost in the gimmicky impersonal screenplay and you don't connect... actually you don't connect with any character and not because the characters are dark but because neither the lines nor the acting are good. and Danny Boyle knows this and that's why the long-shots and the silhouettes and the characters-in-dark treatment to the film. Dev Patel has only one expression on his face when he is on the 'chair'. Anil Kapoor is irritatingly snobbish, Mahesh Manjrekar is irritating, Freida pinto is irritating... Irrfan Khan and Saurabh Shukla are passable...

Rehman's music is a mix of few average tunes from the great A. R. Rehman library. he's given great music, absolutely great music in infinite Hindi, Tamil films... so if he gets the Oscar, it'll be for his great compositions over the years and not for the average 'slum-dog..' album. ditto for the lyrics of Gulzar...

the main problem in the film is the lack of emotional attachment one feels with the film... i mean when Salim suddenly changes his heart or when he dies in the bath-tub filled with currency, we don't feel anything... when Jamaal finally gets Latika, we don't feel anything... when Salim kills Maman, we don't feel anything... when the film ends we don't feel anything (except irritation)...

the film is an amazingly shot and stylishly edited set of gimmicks which have been forcibly interwoven in to a very convenient story...

but when the world says that it's brilliant cinema, who am i to say anything... and if the world enjoys the irritating yet laughable ( a bad wannabe Bollywood) song and dance sequence in the end, who am i to say anything...
2009-01-27
Nothing Special
The Who wants to be millionaire? theme wasn't necessary and it seems to me that it was included in the whole movie just to give it an unique approach that is not that unique after all. This movie is just another display of exaggerated social misery that may be true in the real world but in really extreme cases. This type of movies appear a lot in Latin American productions and they tend to show the same excessive social problems throwing out the worst of its society when it is actually very different in reality.

I think this kinds of movies are meant to show the worst of certain cultures and their success are given by the misunderstanding or insufficient knowledge about these cultures' reality.
2009-04-03
WOW!!! What a waste of 2 hours of my life I will never get back!
This was the worst movie I've seen in 15 years I have been on this planet, and I've seen some terrible movies in my time; such as, The man who fell to earth starring David Bowie, and Junior, a terrible 'comedy' starring the worst duo in the history of film making (Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny Devito). I recommend to anyone who is considering watching a drama based romantic movie; watch Titanic or the Notebook, both of which are reputably good movies which are not remotely over-rated. So if you are just walking by the video store and see this movie, KEEP WALKING! Unless of course you want to endure the pain of watching the worst Danny Boyle film you will ever see. This film, in my opinion, may be the end of Mr Boyle's career.
2009-05-09
One of the top 5 movies of this year
I just saw this at the Savannah Film Festival (on Friday October 31st, 2008), held by the Savannah College Of Art and Design (SCAD) and as soon as the credits started rolling for this movie the first word that came out of my mouth was "WOW!!!" This movie is easily one of the best of 2008, I honestly don't know how the people have given this movie a average rating of 7 here on IMDb. This movie is the heart wrenching tale of a person who has everything he ever loved taken away from him, only to try with everything that he has to regain his true love and gain more than he could ever hope. It is preformed and put together in such a way that it forgets and bypasses every love story cliché. The movie starts out a little confusing but is very quickly sorted out and understood. Danny Boyle has made a film that inspires and encourages people of all ages.

To summarize the deep and perfectly delivered message of this movie; you don't have to be a genius to know the answers in life, sometimes life is just written(whether you call it fate or destiny). This movie I'm sure will find its place amongst the great love movie's like "The Princess Bride", "Casablanca", and "Titanic". Some people I know have problems over the fact that this movie takes place in India, but if you just for one moment let go of that and watch this movie you will instantly find out just how amazing this movie is.

Even though I am writing this review now in November, I hope that you will read this review when the film comes out officially in January and go out and see it. BECAUSE WHETHER YOU GO INTO THAT THEATER ALONE; WITHOUT A GIRLFRIEND OR NOT, YOU WILL WALK OUT OF THAT THEATER INSPIRED, ENCOURAGED, HOPEFUL, BUT MOST OF ALL IN LOVE WITH THIS FILM.

For my closing statement I need to mention that recently this film got an undeserving "R" rating, but this is one movie you should not be ashamed to have your parents take you to see. And is the perfect movie to take a loved one to.
2008-11-01
Over-hyped and clichéd
Only a few films live up to their hype e.g American Beauty, No Country for Old Men, Brokeback Mountain etc. I was eager to see how this one was and I was infuriated. Anyone who has no idea of India, will after viewing this film think that India is an anarchy where cops play cards while watching men burning alive and chase street kids right upto their houses. The same person will also think that India is a morally corrupt nation where winning contestants on a game show are handed over to the police for third degree torture and where the audience laughs in delight when crass comments are passed on the contestant's poverty. Has Danny Boyle even watched the Indian version of Who wants to be a Millionaire? Mr. Bachchan was the most courteous towards all the contestants. He won everyone's heart with his humility. Anil Kapoor here makes the viewer want to punch him in the face. Plus the uneducated protagonist of the film who speaks British English! Wow! And this despite the fact that all around him speak in Indian English.The most angering aspect was the portrayal of the magnanimous hindu community who prey upon the hapless(!) Muslim minority. And the portrayal of Lord Raam should make the blood boil of any devotee. I dare Danny Boyle to make a similar portrayal of Jesus Christ or Prophet Muhammad. He will be promptly butchered.And also all street children don't end up in begging rings and gangs. They fall into good hands too. A guy who's Mercedes has been stripped bare pays the accused kid $100?? Talk about the white man's burden in the post modern world!!A blind beggar knows who is on a $ 100 bill?? A teenage Salim knows Colt 45? Indians are film crazy but no one will jump and wade through excreta to get an autograph of any film star. Plus, is the name of the third musketeer so unfamiliar that one has to pose as a question for Rs 2 million????? And whats the fuss made about Freida Pinto's performance?? Her performance was even more insipid than the rest of the cast. How can a battered girl who is not allowed to step outside drive?? And does Salim's heart change when he sees his lil' bro win millions?? Why cant he escape himself? And can a man who has won two million in a game show go unnoticed in CS Terminus, one of the most crowded places on earth? The only saving grace are the child actors. They are a welcome relief in this otherwise insipid film.

Had this movie been made by a Bollywood director or even some prominent Hollywood director, it would have been labelled as trash which it is. And I'm shocked at the academy. Yes, AR Rehman should win at least one, but that's it. But then what do you expect from Oscars which can ignore a movie like Dark Knight? Or which can award a hideous Chicago best picture in place of the Pianist? I think this time the tradition will be followed. And I'm aghast by the overwhelming approval by western audiences…get a life, guys and leave India alone if you cant portray it correctly.
2009-02-14
Terrible film, disgrace to Hollywood and film
How can this film be described? A number of things pop up quickly such as Inaccurate and Exaggerated.

The plot just like the portrayal of India is completely unrealistic While film has the ability to be imaginative and creative it should never cross the line where it insults the viewers intelligence. And boy does it insinuate a lot. We have to believe that some person from a poor background has a memory that just so happens to answer every question in Millionaire. First the movie puts down a great country and people who do not have very good lives and then it is plausible for this person to know all the answers because he has 'experienced' life. Unless he is similar to Michael Ross from Suits and has a photographic memory this is ludicrous.

This movie portrays a flawed but beautiful country in a very poor and negative light. It focuses on the negative aspects of India such as its poverty and sadly that is all we see. However in reality Mumbai has a number of beautiful parts and in certain areas it is quite heavenly. A number of key settings and themes is completely exaggerated. Bribery does exist in government but this is mostly at an administrative level, where a 'gift' can expedite something. Slums are a problem and exist on the outskirts of the city - very important to note. Over time they developed as a result of people with no education, prospects or savings who started living on the outer side of the big city because they found it hard to earn a living. Sadly India does not have welfare or assistance in the commercial and capitalist capital of the country. They lived illegally and still do on city grounds and rake in income by an means possible, sadly this involves having many children to beg for money. As you can imagine this behavior has compounded and out of control but - not a central part of the city. Slums and slum live is not Mumbai or India and is a lie in film to show a country exists in this state.

What is disheartening is Dev Patel and Frieda Pinto and the Indian production staff who exploited their own country and they know is a lot better for some Hollywood stardom. When you have cowardice and people with no backbone within the country what do you expect? They were too happy to serve India's head on a platter to a Western audience that is constantly happy to see poverty and sadness in other countries to feel better about themselves. An audience that would like to see differences of a third world so they can ignore the shortcomings in their own backyard which is why this film was well received, lets not deny it.

This movie showed waste in India but the real waste is the film itself. It is a disgrace to a great nation, a lie broadcast to Hollywood and an over exaggerated movie. I think I can pin point when the Academy awards lost its credibility.
2017-02-05
Academy Awards're such a waste!!!!!
Amidst of all the award hypes it managed to create in the first of half this year,i wanted to see this movie..and boy,i just started to wonder,even such a trash like this could manage to get this kind of attention from all over the world...first of all the story premise was weak and impossible...besides most of Indian characters portrayed in this film are cruel and rude..either they blind slum children and make them beggars or beat the contestant of their own show..and given a white man's picture of India, Indians either live in slums or decently dressed and work in call centres for American companies..

This film has portrayed India as a corrupt,wicked country with cruelty running deep in the society...You know why, even Indian's are celebrating this movie's victory?..because they've shown their country and men with their skin color all through,in some white man's movie..they're least bothered about how he has portrayed their country..and at last,thanks to Danny Boyle for taking some Indian technicians like ARR and Resul pookutty with his WHITE MAN'S permit to the academy awards...
2009-08-23
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