you haven't seen Slumdog Millionaire as yet, then we say to
you - you must! It's destined to live on in that high
shelf of cinematic wonders . . . this is one for the ages.
is indefinable - a global film - Danny Boyle from Manchester has
become the poet of Mumbai. From the director who gave us Trainspotting
and 28 Days Later comes something that is in fact far more
than a song of the city, this city which has been in the news and
in all our hearts recently. He has, by singing a song so
operatic and wonderful, created something that is not only a song
of Mumbai, but the song of every impossible dreamer; the movie has
the same strange universal power of fairy tales.
movie succeeds because of the power of storytelling, and, in
particular, the power of exaggeration. It is more Mumbai
than Mumbai itself. The villains are more villainous, love
is impossibly true, fate is inexorable and vicious, yet
beautifully twisted. Simon Beaufoy, who has brilliantly
adapted the screenplay from a novel by Vikas Swarup, said of the
film: "It's operatic, it's melodramatic. It's caricature.
It's massive plot shifts. It's huge coincidences." Yet,
the exaggeration is always controlled, the wantonness is always
orchestrated. Color and sound and narrative are gorgeously
manipulated to create a series of sketches. Danny Boyle says
that he walked around with Suketu Mehta's book on Mumbai, Maximum
City, as inspiration and resource, but we wonder if somehow
his film is far more evocative - it's the idea of the poetic
vignette as opposed to the exhaustive catalog. Boyle has
with his movie captured the soul of a city and then sung it so
dramatically that he has in fact created an über-Mumbai of the
basic premise is simple enough - Jamal (Dev Patel) is a
young chai-wallah who serves tea at a call-center in Mumbai.
Through an improbable set of circumstances he lands on 'Who
wants to be a Millionaire' with Anil Kapoor playing the slimy
host to perfection. The movie opens with Jamal on the verge
of winning and then weaves back and forth through his impossible,
improbable life and the lives of his brother Salim and the
beautiful orphan Latika. The child actors are wonderfully
natural, and there is a depth of nuanced character even in
childhood. Irrfan Khan, with his marvelously expressive face,
plays good cop bad cop.
movie is an aria that gets down-and-dirty and at the same time
hits all the high notes!
by Danny Boyle; written by Simon Beaufoy, based on the novel “Q
& A” by Vikas Swarup; director of photography, Anthony Dod
Mantel; edited by Chris Dickens; music by A. R. Rahman; production
designer, Mark Digby; produced by Christian Colson; released by
Fox Searchlight Pictures. Running time: 2 hours.