Rated R; Directed by Danny Boyle and Loveleen Tandan; Starring Dev Patel, Freida Pinto, Saurabh Shukla, Tanay Chudla, Ashutosh Lobo Gabiwala
Slumdog Millionaire is one of those films that surprise everyone. It’s not a grand epic, nor a biography of someone famous, nor is it a relevant social drama. Yet it managed to earn ten Oscar® nominations, including Best Picture. Only Benjamin Button earned more. Is Slumdog Millionaire deserving of the nominations? Maybe. The movie certainly offers an entertaining, funny, dramatic, and suspenseful outing at the theater.
With a clever script, the story shifts between Jamal Malik’s (Dev Patel) surprising success on India’s “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” and various flashbacks showing the reasons for Jamal’s luck. The story shows us how Jamal and his brother Salim grow up in the slums of Mumbai. Often tragic, the two brothers experience a sDickensian life. They are joined by young Latika, another lost child of the slums. From episode to episode we watch the three grow to eventually discover their fates as adults.
Nominated for best adapted screenplay, the story is an affecting one. Watching the children survive peril after peril as they make their way in life, it’s hard not to care about what happens to them. Directors Danny Boyle (nominated for Best Director) and Loveleen Tandan make the most of the plot and extract delightful performances from the children playing Jamal, Salim, and Latika at various ages. It’s also beautiful to watch. The cinematography takes advantage of India’s colors and locations.
Slumdog Millionaire could win Best Picture for 2008. Epics and biographies usually win, but sometimes a movie surprises everyone. Ultimately, a feel-good movie, Slumdog Millionaire could just be that best film of the year. It’s certainly one of the most enjoyable ones.