Newest Review: ... to that of my own. Recently, I decided to push my misgivings aside and buy a copy of the DVD in the great Sainsbury's sell-off (for £4)... more
A tale of rags to riches
Slumdog Millionaire (DVD)
Member Name: GentleGenius
Slumdog Millionaire (DVD)
Advantages: Unusual storyline, good acting from Dev Patel
Disadvantages: A bit too hyper for me, irritating music, a little confusing here & there
RELEASED: 2009, Cert.15
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 115 mins
DIRECTOR: Danny Boyle & Loveleen Tandan
SCREENPLAY: Simon Beaufoy
MUSIC: A R Rahman
Jamal (played by Dev Patel)
Salim, Jamal's brother (played by Madhur Mittal)
Latika (played by Freida Pinto)
Prem Kumar, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire host (played by Anil Kapoor)
FILM ONLY REVIEW
Adapted from Vikas Swarup's novel Q & A, Slumdog Millionaire tells the story of 18-year-old Jamal, a call-centre operator, entering India's version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. By self-admission he doesn't know any of the answers to the questions, but as each one is asked, his mind runs through his tortured childhood and he manages to filter out various facts and figures he'd picked up over the years and his almost instant recall powers provide him with the correct answers.
Jamal almost thrives on flashbacks to his childhood and focuses much of his spare time on attempting to find Latika, his childhood friend, who he is in love with.
That is the merest outline of the story - see the film for yourself to find out the rest.
I'm always rather wary of films which are hot gossip and hold a lot of popular appeal, as I frequently find they fail to deliver (to me, at least) on their promise or the frenzied hype. Of course, some do live up to their reputation of brilliance, but I think what initially stopped me from watching Slumdog Millionaire was a perhaps shameful prejudice I currently have about what often comes across to me as shallowness from certain things that are produced by people under a certain age. I'm not pointing the finger at or blaming those people under a certain age....I unreservedly believe it's down to having been brought up in and taken their influences from times and a generation with different values to that of my own. Recently, I decided to push my misgivings aside and buy a copy of the DVD in the great Sainsbury's sell-off (for £4) and give the film a fair trial.
Although I had heard that Slumdog Millionaire was about a young man from the slums of Mumbai going literally from rags to riches in a very short space of time, I was unaware of anything else to do with the story or how Jamal managed to amass such a fortune until I read a couple of reviews on the film on DooYoo. My curiosity was stimulated as those reviews were written by people whose opinion I generally respect and trust.
On watching the film last night for myself, I found the first part of it quite confusing and although I could make out the basics of what was going on, I was unable to choose which bits I should be concentrating on as important parts of the overall story and which bits I should pay less attention to. For me, everything was moving much too fast and jumping backwards and forwards in time at a pace that my brain had problems keeping up with. I did find Jamal's flashbacks to his childhood in Mumbai (I still want to keep calling it Bombay!!) quite disturbing in some parts, and slightly amusing in others as there's no doubt about it, he and his brother Salim were mischievous little sods. I did feel for them though as they had a truly rotten childhood, stricken with poverty, pain, abuse and neglect.
As far as the acting is concerned, I thought all the main cast played their parts beautifully, but my favourites were Dev Patel as Jamal and Anil Kapoor as Prem Kumar, the greasy, patronising and not very honest Who Wants To Be A Millionaire host. Dev Patel created some wonderful facial expressions and befitting to his role, managed to put across a slightly depressed, laid-back persona that was capable of retaliation when necessary. Quietly always one step ahead of everyone else, Jamal stole the show for me. As for Anil Kapoor, he injected a convincing superciliousness lounge-lizard characterisation into the rather nasty game show host.
I did find the speed of the film quite difficult to cope with - I don't mean speed in the sense that it was over too quickly, as in fact I did find it a little too long and a sizeable chunk of scenes I feel could have been cut to make the whole thing more watchable - I mean that everybody was racing around all the time coupled with the high energy oscillations from past to present.
There was one thing which irritated the hell out of me and that was the musical score....it just grated on my nerves from start to finish, especially the bit at the end of the film. I'm not sure what music could have been used throughout as an alternative, as the film is set in India and one naturally expects Indian music....plus, I don't dislike Indian music in general, but in Slumdog Millionaire it spewed forth relentlessly from my speakers such that it grated on my nerves in quite an unpleasant way.
Although the film did hold my attention and I found the enjoyment factor reasonable, I do think it is somewhat overrated and I'm a little sad that on the DVD sleeve, it is advertised as "The Feel Good Film Of The Decade"....I see that as a sign of the times in that something of this nature should be considered inspiring in the department of euphoria.
All in all, Slumdog Millionaire isn't a bad film, but it didn't quite do it for me as it was too confusing in parts, too loud, too energetic and the music drove me nuts. As for whether I'd watch it again, I'm at the moment undecided and can see that it would largely depend on my mood at any given time. It's not so bad that it's going to immediately be exiled to the charity shop, but to me it's not as good as I was expecting, judging from all the hype and all the awards it won.
At the time of writing, Slumdog Millionaire can purchased on Amazon as follows:-
New: from £2.99 to £20.00
Used: from 10p to £13.99
Collectible: from £4.00 to £8.99
I've had a look on YouTube and as far as I can determine this movie hasn't been uploaded onto the site in its entirety, but there are countless snippets and trailers available to sample for anyone who'd like a little taster.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
Summary: Quite good in parts, but in my opinion overrated