A (Somewhat) Indian Movie

z12If you haven’t already, be sure to watch Slumdog Millionaire. Whether you love Indian movies or hate ’em, it’s a sure pleaser. A young boy on the verge of winning millions on India’s version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” solely for the purpose of winning his childhood sweetheart – what could be better? Well, the fact that the sweetheart is the smoking Feida Pinto sort of helps. Searches for her have topped Yahoo Buzz lists.

I didn’t find it different in plot than any of your typical Bollywood mirch masala fare. But if you hate the usual three hour Indian movies, you may find yourself liking this one. Especially because it skips all of the song and dance sequences that so tire certain viewers. Director Danny Boyle (Of Trainspotting and 28 Days Later fame) goes straight to the action, directing an all-Indian cast in a film that has won numerous awards and is being deemed a possible Oscar winner.

Naturally when a non-Indian directs an Indian film that isn’t horrible, one expects such buzz. Watch it yourself and let me know what you think!


2 responses to “A (Somewhat) Indian Movie

  1. The film’s cinematography and editing alone may be worth the price of a ticket to “Slumdog Millionaire”. Though often visually overwhelming, the movie skips along at a breakneck, but entertaining pace. I’m surprised, though, at the level of praise it has gotten from a number of film critics: “…this is a buoyant hymn to life,” or so said Richard Corliss in Time; “…[a] brilliantly woven masterwork,” according to Liz Kennedy in the Denver Post. How about, “Slumdog Millionaire” is, for the most part, an enjoyable piece of film making – nothing more or less.

    Having said that, I will acknowledge that the performances are rock solid, particularly that of Madhur Mittal whose character (Salim) is significantly more complex and compelling, (and, frankly, much more interesting), than that of his brother, Jamal, played with credible assurance by the engaging Dev Patel; I’m frankly surprised that Mittal is rarely mentioned in the film’s reviews. Freida Pinto is almost too beautiful to believe. Thankfully, she is a wonderful actor. Oh, all the kids are really terrific, by the way.

    Danny Boyle, hmmmmm. Well, there’s nothing particularly subtle or nuanced about Boyle’s direction. His camera moves quickly back and forth and from side to side, but in his defense, the story suffers from – or so it seems to me – a kind of genre identity crisis. On the one hand, it’s a wonderful, moral boosting, fairy tale, with lots of feel good, albeit disjointed, outcomes. On the other hand, it’s a near documentary that serves as a reminder that brutality and chaos are alive and well. It’s a difficult combination to pull off, and the movie doesn’t (pull it off, that is). It would be as if after George Baily returns to the present, his house burns down and his wife and kids are killed. Charles Dickens can weave those kinds of ill fitting moods into relatively effective, sentimental creations (Oliver Twist, and to a lesser extent, Great Expectations come to mind immediately), Danny Boyle, et al., come close, (and only at times), but ultimately, this production falls short of that sort of greatness.

  2. Pingback: Dev Patel, Slumdog Millionaire, blah, blah, blah « My Philadelphia Story

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