Slumdog FTW

28 Jan

As one who generally believes in fate, I see a purpose to everything that happens in my life. And after seeing Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire, I’ve found much more a reason to believe in destiny. Now that I’ve seen this film, I’m promised myself that from now on, I’ll be seeing the Oscar-nominated films for best picture before the awards actually air. That way, I can have an honest opinion.

Now, I haven’t seen any of the other films yet, but from what I witnessed in Slumdog and what I read in reviews of the other films, I have a strong feeling that Boyle’s masterpiece will take home the final prize.

The first thing I noticed about this movie was the exquisite editing, and not just well-crafted editing, but intentional editing that exponentially added to the appeal of the film. When the scenes cut from the game show to the police station to the slums of Mumbai, formerly Bombay, the audience didn’t get confused where the characters were. And all of the jump cuts were incredibly clean, and at the end when we saw exactly all the time sequences catch up with each other, it helped bring the story together without seeming too ostensible.

What else was also ostensible was the love story. The fact that Slumdog carries on across a lifetime, the love story between Latika (the oldest played by Freida Pinto) and Jamal (the oldest played by Dev Patel) was completely believable because you got to see how long their friendship went back – literally back to their childhood; whereas most love stories that say they started back in child just relies on the audience to infer about the long relationship. The young actors who played the various ages of Jamal and Salim did a wonderful job in playing such tragic and complex characters. And as their adult selves, Jamal and Salim were even more tragic. Jamal lived all by himself as a “chaiwalah,” or one that serves tea, and Salim was basically a hit man for one of India’s most prominent crime bosses.

What was tragic was also so beautiful. Jamal, in learning of Latika’s life in danger, went on India’s “Who Wants to be a Millionaire,” because “he knew she’d be watching.” And when he came upon those questions, he found that he knew all the answers. All of the horrific things that happened to him all led up to this one moment that he’d been waiting for his entire life. Not for the money, but for Latika to hear him.

Quite enthralled by Patel’s portrayal of oldest Jamal, I went exploring online for further information on him, and his resume was remarkably short for such a promising young actor. Patel’s only substantial item on his acting resume is a character on Britain’s teen drama “Skins,” a series similar to Canada’s “Degrassi.” For how young he is, the way he depicted Jamal was uncanny. There was so much baggage and terrible history in Jamal’s life, and Patel’s vulnerability was very advantageous in this instance.

A.R. Rahman also composed a superb soundtrack, taking help from M.I.A., who have now received an Oscar nomination of there own. The mixture of classic Bollywood and contemporary dance floor beats matched quite well with the non-sequential storyline. My personal favorite was “O…Saya.” It gave a light fun beat to such a tense scene in the film.

With such a sad story came the purely entertainment-oriented addition of the game show. Anil Kapoor played a perfect snarky game show host, and the sequences in which Kapoor and Patel are on the television show, it’s a subtle break from Jamal’s heartbreaking story. And not until the end does the audience find out the full meaning of all the encounters preceding the game show.

I especially liked the sequence during the last question, where Jamal made the decision to phone a friend. I won’t spoil it for you, because I strongly recommend the film to everyone. It kept me on the edge of my seat, not to sound clichéd, but it was a perfect ending to a perfect film.

It was a perfect, not cheesy, believable, and hopeful ending.

If you don’t believe in destiny, Slumdog Millionaire will surely change your mind.

❤ Abby


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