I saw Slumdog Millionaire last night.
- How? One of the many benefits of living in Los Angeles, CA is the fact that people really do care about cinema here and despite the traffic it takes to get to it, you can see limited release motion pictures in top notch facilities.
- Why? Slumdog has been seriously hyped for its emotional core and powerhouse directing job by Danny Boyle.
- Who? Not even a Michael Cera sighting at the theater could take my mind away from the performances of Slumdog‘s cast including Dev Patel as Jamal and Freida Pinto as Latika.
- What? This has been the weirdest post openings I’ve ever written, I thought it would work better. So now, on to the full review…
Slumdog Millionaire was an epic, breathtaking journey set in an ugly landscape that still radiated beauty at every turn. Danny Boyle has created a masterpiece. Not unlike the initial reaction I felt after watching Meirelles’ City of God, Slumdog Millionaire challenged me to open my mind and heart. Cut the lovey-dovey stuff, right? This movie is a high octane, Danny Boyle style action drama as much as it is a moving emotional roller-coaster. Congratulations to all involved, this was a work well done.
The seedy impoverished slums of India’s most ugly underbelly set the tone for the film from the get-go. You will be challenged to not think about your own life and “troubled” existence in a way that’s perfect for Turkey Day, not but two days away from now. The cinematography demonstrates the brightest, most beautiful scenery that India has to offer while simultaneously forcing you to live the life of a slumdog, giving you the perspective of Jamal‘s character whether you wanted it or not. Like many of Boyle’s films, I was disgusted to see the darkest qualities of the human spirit portrayed by the actors, yet the light at the end of the tunnel was enough to get me and the characters through it all and walk away grinning.
The movie exists primarily in the concept of the paradox. Indeed, it is built into the title of the film directly. All aspects of the production and script seemed to mirror this sentiment. The beautiful cinematography clashed with the often dark content of the script. The music (an utter triumph by Indian mainstay A. R. Rahman) pushed the piece to new heights and dragged it down to gut-wrenching lows with its mix of the old and new in the Indian music landscape. The concepts of good and evil that Jamal fights with throughout the film along with the relationships he gains and loses as a result of his choices is unquestionably brilliant storytelling.
This movie is an adventure of the grandest kind. Boyle, a master of ‘You can’t enjoy the highs without first experiencing the lows’ has created an indelible piece of art that will captivate audiences around the world for many years to come. I’m struggling to think of a better film I saw this year. I plan to see it again. And I plan to bring whoever is around at the time to come see it with me and revel in the art of brilliant filmmaking and storytelling.