Sunday, December 14, 2008

Slumdog Millionaire: It's Not What You Think

A gem of a movie is playing in a few Hoosier cities this week. Taking place (mostly) in Mumbai over a period of about 15 years, it recounts the tale of Jamal Malik, an illiterate Muslim "slumdog" who ends up (in 2006) on the Indian version of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire".

It's told in an intricate intercutting of present-day and flashback. The director, Danny Boyle, "uses this extraordinary premise to paint a kaleidoscopic portrait of a society built around survival of the fittest, where betrayal is commonplace and greed and corruption lie just around every corner." (TIFF'08)

To quote from a review in the Los Angeles Times, "As Jamal describes the specific incidents that led to his being able to answer each of the quiz show questions, he is simultaneously telling several stories, tales of the link between brothers, the never-ending battle with poverty, the lure and pitfalls of crime and the rapid modernization of India."

If you want a little insight into the horrific incident in Mumbai a couple of weeks ago, not to mention a glimpse of a vibrant city that one of the lead characters calls "the center of the world", see Slumdog Millionaire now; don't wait to rent it when it comes out on DVD! One of the places it's playing this week is Keystone Landmark Theater in Indianapolis.

UPDATE (11 January 2009):
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – "Slumdog Millionaire" lived up to its underdog theme at Sunday's Golden Globes, sweeping all four of its categories, including best drama and director for Danny Boyle....
"Slumdog Millionaire" also won best screenplay and musical score, firming up its prospects for the Academy Awards. The film features a generally unknown cast in the story of an orphan boy in Mumbai who rises from terrible hardship to become a champ on India's version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," all the while trying to reunite with a lost love from his childhood.

See the whole story here.

UPDATE (23 February 2009):
A ‘Slumdog’ Kind of Night at the Oscar Ceremony
The New York Times
Published: February 23, 2009
“Slumdog Millionaire” won eight Academy Awards, including the prizes for best picture and director.

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