Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
Reviewed on 2008 December 22
Very, very good movie, but it’s not a feel-good flick. Parts of this riveting movie are absolutely heartbreaking. This is what you get when you combine a splashy (though grim) Bollywood fable — there’s even a shiny dance number over the end credits — with Danny Boyle’s wickedness. And Danny, on the off-chance you’re reading this, that’s a compliment.
Jamal Malik (Dev Patel) is a young man who grew up in the slums of India and, in a twist of events that would exhaust Charles Dickens, winds up a game show contestant. He’s on the set of India’s version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” and to everyone’s astonishment and almost everyone’s delight, he’s winning. The problem is he’s doing too well for the host to believe he came by the answers honestly. One of the questions is who is on a U.S. $100 bill, and Jamal just happens to know this tidbit.
The story unfolds when we see how Jamal learned the things he knows. Other plots are woven through this story but the main thread of the movie is his harsh childhood. Some scenes made me feel as though I’d been kicked in the stomach, and there was one early flashback sequence that made me laugh and want to throw up at the same time. This was not just a gratuitous bit; it actually shows how determined Jamal is. Painful as it is, nothing in this movie is just thrown in; everything has a point. The soundtrack is wonderful too.
Three chocolate morsels, and some tea with cardamom and spice.