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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Slumdog Millionaire

November 12th, 2008

Rated R for some violence, disturbing images and language.

Canada Rated 14A; Language may offend, violence.

Danny Boyle (dir.)

A. R. Rahman (music)

Dev Patel as Jamal Malik

Madhur Mittal as Salim

Freida Pinto as Latika

Anil Kapoor as Prem Kumar

Irrfan Khan as Police Inspector

Our reviews below:


Slumdog Millionaire Review By John C.

**** (out of four)

The first question is: Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire can be described as A) A Triumph, B) A Failure, C) A Waste of Time, D) Not That Good. The answer is A) A Triumph, and that is my final answer, because all the other answers are wrong. The second question is, should you go see it? The answer is, yes. Jamal Malik has gone on Who Wants to be a Millionaire, and when he actually starts to win, they accuse him of cheating. The story is told in flash backs as he tells the tale of his life, and how he came to know the answers.

It is loosely based on the adult novel Q & A, by Vikas Swarup. The overall plot is similar to the book, but apart from a few scenes, it is totally different. After you see the movie, just think that the book is more violent and disturbing than the movie, and then wonder why I saw the book listed as a read for 9 to 12 year olds, a age that this movie is definitely not appropriate for.

Some of the scenes are disturbing and hard to watch, even though their is hardly any blood. It proves that sometimes what you don’t see is more effective than what you do. It would have taken away from the movie if we, the audience, had been distracted by visible gore. There are some scenes were you cringe at the thought of what’s happening, but are glad they have decided not to show it.

The director, Danny Boyle, also made a movie called Millions, which is one of my favorite movies. Both movies are very different and unique, and if you didn’t know that they shared a director, you wouldn’t think they had anything in common, which just shows you how brilliant and diverse Danny Boyle really is.

The story is powerful, and the acting is amazing. Despite the darkness of the story, the last half-hour is uplifting and extremely suspenseful. This is one of my favorite movies this year, and I would be surprised if it doesn't pick up a nomination for Best Picture.


Slumdog Millionaire Review By Erin V.

**** (out of four)

Slumdog Millionaire is the story of Jamal - a young man in India who goes on a game show in order to find what he wants most. Told through a series of flashbacks as his life reveals him the answers, this is a powerful film that makes you think like no other one this year. Throughout the movie, we see the hard life for Jamal as he grows up in the slums of India. Going on the quiz show, we see in a certain sense, is his destiny. But no one knows how one ‘slumdog’ could know all the answers without cheating, so he is arrested in order to force him to explain every answer that he comes by... hence the flashbacks to certain points in his life.

As the movie progresses, so does the amount that you are hooked by it. This is a film that truly grips you from the start, and does not let go until long after it’s over. The acting is amazing by the actors playing Jamal, his brother Salim, and his friend Latika - three actors each - from childhood to young adulthood. As you watch this movie, you care about what happens to these kids who are practically alone in this world, each trying to find a different technique of survival - whether good or bad - as they grow older. Whether it is a scene of a chase through the crowded streets of India, or in the closed set of the game show, there is suspense throughout the movie as it takes it’s unexpected twists and turns.

This is an amazingly emotional, and poignant film. The editing is very well done - closely edited in certain parts, but not to an extreme. The musical score fit well, coming through to the point where it is there, yet not distracting. Throughout the scenes, as the film built up to it’s end, you realize that this will not be a film soon forgotten. It is an excellent piece of work which shows an amazing side to life that we don’t think about. This is a must see film especially for those who are trying to be more involved with social justice issues. This is a very important, well made, (at times hard to watch), and amazing movie. This definitely would be worthy of a Best Picture nomination.


Slumdog Millionaire Review By Nicole

**** (out of four)

Loosely based on the book ‘Q & A’ by Vikas Swarup, Slum Dog Millionaire is a powerful, and deeply moving film. Told through a series of flashbacks, we see how Jamal, an 18 year old ‘slum dog’, ends up on ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire’, (his only motivation for being there is his love for Latika.) Of course, the game show host believes that Jamal cheated, so Jamal is taken by the police. Jamal, after enduring heart-wrenching abuse, recounts how a different incident in his life taught him every answer to the questions on the show. From surviving as an orphan with his brother Salim, and friend Latika, to escaping the violence, crime, and corruption that people around him turn to, Jamal grows into a young hero who you will root for to the end.

Despite the fact that young actors dominate this movie, this is not a family film. Scenes of torture, war, crime, and gun violence are an integral part of the story. However, Jamal’s innocence throughout the movie, as well as his quest to find Latika, make for a compelling film that will hold you on the edge of your seat. Tragic at times, this is an excellent film that will open your eyes to real human rights issues that plague our world. An amazing movie that, despite the fact that it is hard to watch, has an ending that will leave you with tears of joy. You will not come away from this film unmoved. Don’t miss this one.


Slumdog Millionaire Review By Maureen

**** (out of four)

Slum Dog Millionaire is a powerful, intense movie that was at times difficult to watch, but impossible not to watch. Jamal is a young man from the slums of India who ends up on the TV game show ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire’. His ability to correctly answer each question on the show is explained through a series of flashbacks to his childhood.

Jamal, his brother Salim and childhood friend, Latika endure many difficult and tragic situations that shape who they become as young adults. This movie doesn’t hold back in terms of the realism of the violence and abuse that exists in the slums of India. The realism of the poverty and corruption is what makes Slum Dog Millionaire absolutely compelling to watch.

Actor Dev Patel does an excellent job in making Jamal a character you want to see succeed and finally be rewarded for everything he had to endure earlier in his life. The game show segments with the sleazy game show host are exciting to watch and the ending of the movie is very satisfying. It helps that the intensity and violence in the film is offset be a touching romantic scene at the end.

Normally this would not be my type of movie. However Director Danny Boyle, (Millions), did an excellent job with this story. This is an Oscar worthy movie. I would be shocked if it doesn’t receive any nominations. See it if you can. This is not for children.


Slumdog Millionaire Review By Tony

**** (out of four)

As Slumdog Millionaire opens, 18 year old Jamal Malik (Dev Patel) is about to answer the final question for 20 million Rupees (roughly half a million dollars), on the Indian version of So You Want to be a Millionaire. This show has the most vile host imaginable (Anil Kapoor), who reminded me of Dennis Miller at his worst. Suddenly, to ensure a quick response, we see Jamal’s face being slapped by police. Within the first minute, British director Danny Boyle has us hooked for the next two hours.

Both the recurring multiple choice quiz show and “enhanced interrogation” scenes are in fact clever framing devices. Jamal was arrested for allegedly cheating on the quiz, since no “slumdog” could know all the answers. As the police inspector (Irrfan Khan) plays back each videotaped quiz question, Jamal relates through flashbacks the incidents that revealed the answers. As a small boy, Jamal and his older brother Salim, along with a girl named Latika, had fled from their Muslim slum when it was attacked by a Hindu mob. They were picked up from a garbage dump and taken to a so-called orphanage, but Jamal and Salim ran away once they saw that life there would be even worse than before. After surviving for several years on the streets, an older Jamal and Salim returned to the old neighbourhood to rescue Latika, with whom Jamal believed lay his destiny. After several more years, as the live quiz show goes to air, the now young adults Jamal, Salim (Madhur Mittal) and Latika (Freida Pinto) rush headlong to a brilliant conclusion. As always, my synopsis is deliberately vague so as not to spoil the surprises.

Despite a brief group dance scene during the closing credits, this is by no means a conventional Bollywood film. There is no effort to make slum life pretty and there are brief scenes of brutality. However, Slumdog Millionaire is an inspiring fantasy of destiny bringing lives together. It is a beautiful film to look at. Brilliant editing, both of pictures and sound, keep the intricate narrative structure clear and suspense sequences exciting. The cast is consistently good, including the child actors in flashbacks. The eclectic musical score by A. R. Rahman is effective, i.e. always appropriate while unobtrusive.

In short, Slumdog Millionaire is an outstanding film, one of the year’s best.


Consensus: Slumdog Millionaire will stay with you long after you’ve left the theatre. This is a powerful, intense, and moving film, that while hard to watch at times, is an amazing work of art. **** (out of four)

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