Movie Review: ‘Slumdog Millionaire’

This is an astonishing feel-good epic set in the vibrant and volatile world of India.
Movie Review: ‘Slumdog Millionaire’
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Danny Boyle is the most versatile and accessible director working in cinema today. He’s as successful creating a canvas for heroin riddled Scottish youths and apocalyptic space escapades as he is ravaging London with rage infected zombies. The one thing that permeates his films is the high standard they all effortlessly achieve. Sure, there are genre specialists such as Scorsese and Romero but there are few that can effectively traverse the cinematic landscape as well as Britain’s finest.

Continuing that trend is this astonishing feel-good epic set in the vibrant and volatile world of India, and more specifically the tale of Jamal Malik (Dev Patel), a slumdog orphan who is one question away from the jackpot on the Hindi version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? But don’t think you’re about to sit through an extended version of the show, it is simply a clever framing device to tell a remarkable against-the-odds tale of Jamal’s struggle to be reunited with his soul mate.

Something of an uplifting City of God, with some comparable violence to boot, its success is made easy by the infectiously engaging performances. All incarnations of the cross generational characters are brilliantly acted. Patel in particular holds the attention as grown-up Jamal, convincing from his initial, brutal torture through to the nail-biting final question, he could be quite a find. Ayush Mahesh Khedekar as young Jamal is also a wide eyed triumph and many of the more enjoyable scenes are during the flashbacks that involve him and brother Salim getting into all sorts of mischief. An impromptu tour of the Taj Mahal and a train top montage are just two of the many, many excellent set-pieces.

Beautifully shot by Boyle, you’ll struggle to find a better looking film, not just because of the stunning locales but the way in which the visuals are balanced to be inventive yet not intrusive. A reliance on 28 Days Later shaky-cam jars, but the cheeky Bollywood style end credit sequence will only see the already face stretching smile increase some more.

Yes, it’s slightly overlong and some of the melodrama borders on cliché but you forgive it because of the romanticism of the expertly written story by Full Monty scribe Simon Beaufoy, and the powerful passion of a director crafting the best film of his career to date. This is a stunning movie.

[etRating value=“ 5”]