Film review: Slumdog Millionaire

posted at 6:49 pm on February 15, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

I have to admit that when I first heard that Slumdog Millionaire got nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, I assumed that it was another triumph of hype over excellence.  I didn’t have a chance to see it earlier, and usually when a film gets this much chatter, it disappoints.  In this case, neither are true.  Slumdog Millionaire is a masterpiece of a film, a gritty story about survival, loyalty, betrayal, love, and ultimately redemption.

When Jamal Malik, an uneducated young man from the worst slums in Mumbai, suddenly hits it big on India’s version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, police interrogators attempt to torture a confession out of Jamal to find out how he cheated before he can go back and answer the final question and win 20 million rupees.  But did he cheat — or did Jamal’s life of depredation give unique preparation for this humble man to triumph on the brightest stage?  Jamal relives his life of extreme poverty, explaining how his brother and the girl he has loved since childhood became the Three Musketeers — and how each wound up on a different path to survival.

The best pictures give us a real taste of life as well as entertain.  Slumdog Millionaire brings the utter poverty of Mumbai’s slums into focus.  People exist on garbage, children get orphaned and exploited, and criminal gangs sometimes give the only escape, as Salim discovers.  Even those who give kindness want something in return, and Latika falls into the trap when Jamal and Salim escape.  Jamal wants nothing but to rescue Latika, while Salim gives up his soul for money.  Can he find redemption after betrayal, and can Jamal find it and Latika in a TV game show?

Danny Boyle keeps the pace up and the shocking squalor of Mumbai in our face as he moves back and forth in time to tell Jamal’s story.  Dev Patel gives a terrific and understated performance as Jamal, as does Freida Pinto as Latika, the girl he loves and who he rescues — and who may wind up rescuing him.  The children who play Latika, Jamal, and Jamal’s older brother Salim are amazingly good.  The one performance that may get overlooked is that of Irrfan Khan, who plays the brutal detective who finally discovers that Jamal’s origins have little to do with his worth.

Believe the hype.  Slumdog Millionaire really is that good.  I think it’s a better movie than Benjamin Button, which I liked but didn’t feel was Best Picture material, and perhaps better than Doubt, which should have gotten a nomination this year.  I haven’t seen the other three nominees for Best Picture, but they’d have to be excellent to top this picture.  It’s going right onto my wish list for the blu-ray release.


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Definitely the Best Picture.
Even my 13 yr old son agrees–”Better than The Dark Knight”.

jgapinoy on February 15, 2009 at 6:53 PM

What would Joe Biden say?

Kini on February 15, 2009 at 6:56 PM

Great review, Ed. Here’s my humble assessment:
http://jgapinoy.blogspot.com/2009/02/slumdogs.html

jgapinoy on February 15, 2009 at 6:56 PM

What would Joe Biden say?

It took me a couple of seconds, but I got it–LOL!

jgapinoy on February 15, 2009 at 6:57 PM

Definitely deserves best picture. Wonderful story, told in a unique and interesting way. I absolutely loved it. Great review! That kid shows you what a leading man is all about.

(and that millionaire host was so awful, he made me pissed off at Regis!) haha

sarainitaly on February 15, 2009 at 6:59 PM

Thanks for the review, Ed. I’ve been putting off watching this, but will now.

If you get a chance, watch The Hurt Locker.

Ugly on February 15, 2009 at 7:02 PM

It took me a couple of seconds, but I got it–LOL!

jgapinoy on February 15, 2009 at 6:57 PM

Haven’t seen it yet, but I liked your review.

As for my Biden comment….. ^_~

Kini on February 15, 2009 at 7:03 PM

This movie blew, Ed. The whole time I was watching it I kept thinking, “These bastards are ripping off the The Usual Suspects.” There was only movie this past year that deserved to be nominated for best picture.

That film was Wall-E.

HebrewToYou on February 15, 2009 at 7:08 PM

I liked it…it was very good, it wasn’t an alltime great.

Certainly better than The Dark Knight, though.

Talk about overhyped…

jimmy the notable on February 15, 2009 at 7:09 PM

Kini, Indians aren’t the only race Biden has demeaned:

Biden on poor D.C. school performance compared to Iowa: “There’s less than one percent of the population of Iowa that is African American. There is probably less than four or five percent that is, are minorities. What is it in Washington? So look, it goes back to what you start off with, what you’re dealing with.”

What does Jolted Joe really think of his boss?

jgapinoy on February 15, 2009 at 7:09 PM

I completely agree with you, Ed. This was a very very good film. I had to overcome the fact that I knew Dev, as an idiotic, desperately horney muslim teenager, from the BBC series “Skins”, but once I got past that, I found that he really is a good little actor. ;)

After all, Folks, Boyle did give us TRAINSPOTTING. He is a gifted director!

tickleddragon on February 15, 2009 at 7:10 PM

I hear Hillary likes the movie, too………….

Seven Percent Solution on February 15, 2009 at 7:13 PM

HebrewToYou on February 15, 2009 at 7:08 PM

To complete the comment-circle, Spacey of Suspects (which I have not seen) was brilliant in Batman Begins.

jgapinoy on February 15, 2009 at 7:14 PM

I loved slum dog it made me cry. There are many twists and turns in it and even when the final credits roll there is entertainment. I hope this one gets an oscar.
I have not watched the button movie because I am not interested in the story line and frankly I am sick of the brangeliina crap.
Slumdog is a really really good movie.

lexa on February 15, 2009 at 7:15 PM

I hear Hillary likes the movie, too………….

What would Joe Biden say?

Ironically, I’ll bet the percentage of Indian-Americans voting for BHO was nearly as high as African-Americans.

jgapinoy on February 15, 2009 at 7:18 PM

PARTIAL SPOILERS

I thought Slumdog was definitely better than Benjamin Button, but it wasn’t great. The female was nothing more than eye candy (yet oh how he loved her!), and I had to stifle laughter when the brother immersed himself in a tub full of money for the shootout preceding his death. What subtle symbolism! The fact that he tells it after winning the money also takes a lot of suspense out of it.

I’m just highlighting the negatives to contrast with everyone else’s positives. The movie does share some similarity with BB in terms of its episodic storytelling, and this was the better of the two films, but still overrated. I think it should have a 70-75 on Rottentomatoes, not a 95.

ggoofer on February 15, 2009 at 7:18 PM

To complete the comment-circle, Spacey of Suspects (which I have not seen) was brilliant in Batman Begins.

Am I missing something? Kevin Spacey wasn’t in Batman Begins. He was in Superman Returns. Kevin Spacey was absolutely brilliant in many movies, including The Usual Suspects, but his best film is L.A. Confidential.

HebrewToYou on February 15, 2009 at 7:20 PM

I loved slum dog it made me cry.

I remember fighting back tears after what the little girl said right after she got on the train car, joining the boys.
For much of the film, I was too stunned to cry. And I’ve seen the worst of the poverty in the Philippines & Mexico.

jgapinoy on February 15, 2009 at 7:22 PM

The fact that he tells it after winning the money also takes a lot of suspense out of it.

Actually, most of the story is told between the penultimate and ultimate rounds of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. He hasn’t technically won anything — he was still playing the game.

And such is the reason why two Oscar-nominated films annoy me. Benjamin Button is told in a style nearly identical to Big Fish; Slumdog Millionaire is told in a style nearly identical to The Usual Suspects.

Original filmmaking be damned…

HebrewToYou on February 15, 2009 at 7:24 PM

Great review! We saw it on an advance copy DVD from a friend in the bizness. I couldn’t believe it, but it cut out in the last 5 minutes, too many views I think. So I still don’t know what happens after she gets to the cellphone in the SUV, but I don’t want to be a spoiler so I’ll wait til it comes out on DVD to find out. I just love the fact that there are no big name Hollywood dopey celebrities in it.

ctmom on February 15, 2009 at 7:26 PM

I must confess,the title sounded like,the typical
Hippity,Hippity,Hippity Hop movie!

Looks good,triumph against all odds,me thinks!

Ahem,I wonder what Hopey thinks!

canopfor on February 15, 2009 at 7:33 PM

If you haven’t seen this movie yet, you should go ASAP. Amazing.

So I still don’t know what happens after she gets to the cellphone in the SUV, but I don’t want to be a spoiler so I’ll wait til it comes out on DVD to find out.

ctmom on February 15, 2009 at 7:26 PM

So it basically picked the worst time to cut out. Heh. Piracy–Epic Fail!

Ironically, I’ll bet the percentage of Indian-Americans voting for BHO was nearly as high as African-Americans.

jgapinoy on February 15, 2009 at 7:18 PM

I can’t pinpoint Indian Americans exactly, but McCain got 40% of the overall Asian American vote. Certainly not in the single digits.

malan89 on February 15, 2009 at 7:39 PM

I hate throwing any chump change to Hollywood, but if you say it’s worth it Ed, I’ll give it a go.

hawkdriver on February 15, 2009 at 7:39 PM

I thought it was very good.

WisCon on February 15, 2009 at 7:40 PM

I kind of agree with the minority of opinions here. The movie was decent at best. It’s not a new exciting way to tell the story, just a re-tread of other methods. The kid actors were the best part of the movie, much better than the adults. Honestly Frida Pinto is eye candy and nothing more. You could have gotten any actress to do that role. I kept checking my watch wondering when it was going to end. The only reason I think people love it so much is because they are sent home with the feel-good music video in the end. your last thought is a happy one, so you come out feeling good. Honestly, clint Eastwood got robbed.

boingo_tx on February 15, 2009 at 7:42 PM

You’re about 4 months LATE on this one buddy.

msipes on February 15, 2009 at 7:43 PM

Benjamin Button is told in a style nearly identical to Big Fish; Slumdog Millionaire is told in a style nearly identical to The Usual Suspects.

Original filmmaking be damned…

HebrewToYou on February 15, 2009 at 7:24 PM

Benjamin Button is just Forrest Gump and Big Fish scrambled together.

I trust you Ed, but I’m still angry at Danny Boyle about Sunshine. That movie’s third act infuriated me beyond belief because it was so awful and the rest of the film, excellent. If somebody could make a version where Pinbacker was edited out, I’d be set.

darclon on February 15, 2009 at 7:47 PM

I’ve got to wait for NetFlix to get it before I can see it. All my extra cash is going toward canned food and bullets at the moment.

dinobalz on February 15, 2009 at 7:48 PM

I liked the Gran torino movie also. It kinda wormed its way into your heart. But for me the slumdog movie moved faster and made you stay tuned to what was going on. I liked them both but slumdog has to go first.

lexa on February 15, 2009 at 7:48 PM

It’s one of the handful of films I paid to see because it stared nobody I have been offended by politically. It was excellent and any premise that has a trio of kids living in piss poor poverty that has a happy ending is alright by me. Some of the cinematography (seemingly tens of thousands washing their clothes in a dirty river, it looked like a tapestry from above) was amazing.

Marcus on February 15, 2009 at 7:54 PM

BTW, if you’ve seen it and enjoyed the end credits (the song that will probably win the Oscar for Best Song “Jai Ho”) and the dance, it’s up here (until it gets pulled I’d imagine.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEsMNODj8YU

Marcus on February 15, 2009 at 7:59 PM

malan89 on February 15, 2009 at 7:39 PM

Hey! it wasn’t pirated – technically. He just didn’t break it in a million pieces after the first viewing……….

ctmom on February 15, 2009 at 8:03 PM

HebrewToYou on February 15, 2009 at 7:20 PM

You’re right, my bad. Got my super-hero movies mixed up.

jgapinoy on February 15, 2009 at 8:07 PM

I can’t pinpoint Indian Americans exactly, but McCain got 40% of the overall Asian American vote. Certainly not in the single digits.

Yes, but judging from my dreadfully unscientific surveys, Indians tend to be liberal, while other Asian groups such as Koreans & Filipinos, not so much.

jgapinoy on February 15, 2009 at 8:10 PM

I truly enjoyed it. I thought it was one of the best movies I’d ever seen. It’s a chick flick and a guy movie rolled into one.
It ranked up there with my other favorite “In America” with Samantha Morton and Paddy Considine. Hard to keep a dry eye while watching either.

GoodBoy on February 15, 2009 at 8:11 PM

Benjamin Button is told in a style nearly identical to Big Fish;

Ben Button borrows a lot from Gump, too.
Big Fish is a good flick.

jgapinoy on February 15, 2009 at 8:11 PM

I have absolutely no interest in this picture. Standard, as in really beat to death old Hollywood standard, rags to riches story but set in India. An imbecile could have wrote this script.

Rocks on February 15, 2009 at 8:12 PM

The only reason I think people love it so much is because they are sent home with the feel-good music video in the end.

What? After watching what, to me, was a thrilling, moving flick, to be slapped upside the head with that stupid, out-of-character music as the credits were rolling was just plain silly.

jgapinoy on February 15, 2009 at 8:14 PM

jgapinoy on February 15, 2009 at 8:14 PM

I had a good laugh at that too.

GoodBoy on February 15, 2009 at 8:15 PM

my dreadfully unscientific surveys

That is, I deliver mail to a dozens of Asian families (your mailman knows a lot about you), & I read quite a bit about Asia.

jgapinoy on February 15, 2009 at 8:17 PM

Good movie…why is it I’ll always remember that kid jumping through that outhouse hole into…*eww*

Anyway, yeah…good movie, but not in my top 10.

Ben Button borrows a lot from Gump, too.

It IS Gump! Same movie…

JetBoy on February 15, 2009 at 8:17 PM

Hate to tell you this, but Usual Suspects wasn’t the first film to use a dialogue/flashback storytelling device. It’s almost as old as film. Just off the top of my head, the original D.O.A. did it, too, back in the 50s.

Ed Morrissey on February 15, 2009 at 8:17 PM

great movie

rob verdi on February 15, 2009 at 8:19 PM

I liked it a lot.
It is much better that 98.7654% of the sh1t they are shoveling out Hollywood these days.

TheSitRep on February 15, 2009 at 8:21 PM

I am looking forward to “Taking Chance”

TheSitRep on February 15, 2009 at 8:23 PM

Usual Suspects is a good film but it never worked for me. It telegraphed things something fierce by having Kevin Spacey as the only major actor in the film. You just knew there was a twist with his character or he wouldn’t have done the film. It works better now as he’s nowhere as big so someone could actually see the film not knowing how big he was at the time he made it. Also they could have said Kaiser Souce about 100 less times. It became like a bad pop song you couldn’t get out of your head.

But it’s not half the film Memento is.

Rocks on February 15, 2009 at 8:24 PM

BTW, if you’ve seen it and enjoyed the end credits (the song that will probably win the Oscar for Best Song “Jai Ho”) and the dance, it’s up here (until it gets pulled I’d imagine.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEsMNODj8YU

Marcus on February 15, 2009 at 7:59 PM

Still the best dance VIDEO FROM INDIA evah!

JetBoy on February 15, 2009 at 8:33 PM

Hate to tell you this, but Usual Suspects wasn’t the first film to use a dialogue/flashback storytelling device. It’s almost as old as film. Just off the top of my head, the original D.O.A. did it, too, back in the 50s.

Ed, it wasn’t the flashback that was a direct rip-off — tons of stories, like Sunset Boulevard, use the method — but rather the setting and style! The Usual Suspects & Slumdog Millionaire both unfold within a police station during an interrogation. Both films then finish the movie after the interrogation ends. Direct. Frickin’. Rip-off.

DOA, a great film, doesn’t resemble either movie. It’s not the flashback — it’s how the story is told.

HebrewToYou on February 15, 2009 at 8:39 PM

Good but overrated. NOT better than the Dark Knight.

What movie will be talked about in 10 years? Slumdog has made zero impact while the Dark Knight was a genre defining, as well as an exquisite display of how viral marketing can enrich the actual movie itself. Much of the story was told before the movie, such as the Joker’s slow emergence in the criminal underworld, something many critics missed and called a “plothole.” Just great stuff.

Dark Knight – Genre defining, long term impact, cinematic masterpiece.
Slumdog – Very good movie, not genre defining, forgotten in a year like most small artsy best picture nominee/winners.

True_King on February 15, 2009 at 8:49 PM

BTW, if you’ve seen it and enjoyed the end credits (the song that will probably win the Oscar for Best Song “Jai Ho”) and the dance, it’s up here (until it gets pulled I’d imagine.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEsMNODj8YU

Marcus on February 15, 2009 at 7:59 PM

My favorite Indian song that also found its way into a movie:
Chaiyya Chaiyya

WaltDakota on February 15, 2009 at 8:58 PM

The scenes of disgraceful poverty didn’t shock me that much. Not after walking down Pitkin Avenue in East New York, Brooklyn back in the day.

The production number during the closing credits was an absolute delight, and a tribute to the fantastic DESI filmmakers of Bollywood.

jay12 on February 15, 2009 at 8:59 PM

I just saw Taken and was pleased to see:
a. an ex-CIA type portrayed as a hero.
b. Muslim Albanians portrayed as villians.
c. torture portrayed as justifiable in situations where innocent life is at stake.
d. rich liberals portrayed as dangerously naive.

I am amazed it got green-lighted in Hollyweird.

I guess I’ll give Slumdog a chance since Ed thinks it’s good.

Disturb the Universe on February 15, 2009 at 9:06 PM

I had also read that the end dance number was a tribute to Bollywood.

I just enjoy a dramatic movie where the local children of a culture different from me give excellent performances (and there’s not an alien or dinosaur in sight). The little girl in the rain made me choke up.

Marcus on February 15, 2009 at 9:11 PM

I’ve been to Mumbai (Bombay), and I’m here to tell you that it is one of the most horrible places I’ve ever been. The poverty there is unbelievable, and the stench of death that permeates almost everything outside the small tourist-business area is horrible. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but Ed’s review is unsurprising.

simkeith on February 15, 2009 at 9:34 PM

I am looking forward to “Taking Chance”

TheSitRep on February 15, 2009 at 8:23 PM

…….. I agree.

Seven Percent Solution on February 15, 2009 at 9:44 PM

Disturb the Universe on February 15, 2009 at 9:06 PM

I just watch that 30 minutes ago. It was good.
Liam issued some serious pain.

TheSitRep on February 15, 2009 at 9:50 PM

I’ve been to Mumbai (Bombay), and I’m here to tell you that it is one of the most horrible places I’ve ever been.

And that’s supposed to be the wealth/business capital of India.

jgapinoy on February 15, 2009 at 10:48 PM

My wife and I were interested until we saw the movie was R rated. I refuse to watch anything that Hollywood puts out under the R rating (although I made one exception: The Passion of the Christ). Most of the time, even if the story line is good, the junk they throw in these movies, demeans integrity, sexual purity and God. It’s just another way of Hollywood degrading our culture. If Christians would quit being like the world and simply avoid the stuff that tears down our moral heritage, then Hollywood might wise up and start making more inspirational movies without the coarseness,violence or the gratuitous sex. We have many more inspirational stories than Hollywood has in everyday heroes of the faith.

Christian Conservative on February 15, 2009 at 11:45 PM

Ed,

You’re a month behind….catch up with all of us in the “in-crowd”.

Tim Burton on February 16, 2009 at 2:57 AM

My wife and I were interested until we saw the movie was R rated. I refuse to watch anything that Hollywood puts out under the R rating (although I made one exception: The Passion of the Christ). Most of the time, even if the story line is good, the junk they throw in these movies, demeans integrity, sexual purity and God. It’s just another way of Hollywood degrading our culture. If Christians would quit being like the world and simply avoid the stuff that tears down our moral heritage, then Hollywood might wise up and start making more inspirational movies without the coarseness,violence or the gratuitous sex. We have many more inspirational stories than Hollywood has in everyday heroes of the faith.

Christian Conservative on February 15, 2009 at 11:45 PM

It is a harsh look at life and the sinful nature that occurs apart from God. It is no worse than if you watched a movie on David or Abraham or many other stories of those who are listed in Hebrews as being faithful. Rahab sure wasn’t a PG life, yet she is praised in Hebrews as being righteous.

Ever wonder why Lot is listed in Hebrews as being faithful, but was last seen having sex with his daughters?

For example, Fight Club is a violent nasty movie, but is a great explanation of why Post-Modernism is self-destructive and ultimately meaningless. No matter how bad he acts, he is still desperate to find any sort of meaning and utterly fails.

Tim Burton on February 16, 2009 at 3:01 AM

An imbecile could have wrote this script.

Rocks on February 15, 2009 at 8:12 PM

An imbecile might have used proper grammar. Maybe you were just trying to employ irony as proof of your literary acumen.

The Race Card on February 16, 2009 at 3:38 AM

Also they could have said Kaiser Souce about 100 less times. It became like a bad pop song you couldn’t get out of your head.

But it’s not half the film Memento is.

Rocks on February 15, 2009 at 8:24 PM

I worked at very large entertainment website around the time Usual Suspects was released. IMHO the numerous mentions of Keyser Söze was probably a result of marketers having too much say in final production. Big-ass web movie promotions were still relatively new at the time and our job was to beat consumers over the head with the phrase “Who is Keyser Söze?”

We were swimming in studio swag imprinted with the phrase. It was really overdone. But web promos were a relatively new thing and the synthesis of new media marketing and old Hollywood ways was still working itself out.

Both films are on my list of favorites. For those of you comparing the two and acting as if Suspects is the first film to bend the narrative timeline, get real. You must not have seen The Wizard of Oz. There’s only so many places you can start telling a story.

The Race Card on February 16, 2009 at 3:58 AM

I trust you Ed, but I’m still angry at Danny Boyle about Sunshine. That movie’s third act infuriated me beyond belief because it was so awful and the rest of the film, excellent. If somebody could make a version where Pinbacker was edited out, I’d be set.

darclon on February 15, 2009 at 7:47 PM

I loved Sunshine. I thought it was a great movie, but I agree with you on the ending. I don’t know why Boyle had to insert that gratuitous weirdness into a film that was going so well. I wasn’t ticked about Pinbacker, just that they made him into some sort of a superhuman, ghost figure instead of just a psychotic. His speech about the “last man” in the observation room was a classic.

There were also some problems with the computer not being able to identify a new, extra person on board (after the computer was doing all that other stuff on its own) or the need for typing when the computer speaks, but these sorts of minor issues are to be expected. And the ending, though fun to watch, made no sense.

But I still loved the film and even recommended it for “Best conservative movie” – not because it was conservative, but because it showed the idiocy of liberal emotion-driven decision-making so clearly (and also left a strong message never to take a liberal on a critical mission).

All in all, I still love the movie. Great story.

progressoverpeace on February 16, 2009 at 6:33 AM

I thought “Slum Dog” was a very good movie and kept me entertained throughout. However, without giving it away, I thought the ending was disappointing. Needed more poignancy/irony, i.e. getting what you want but having to pay the cost to achieve it. And was it worth it? That’s my inner story editor talking.

J.J. Sefton on February 16, 2009 at 7:56 AM

Christian Conservative on February 15, 2009 at 11:45 PM

As a fellow Christian conservative, I would ask that you reconsider by reading my humble review of Slumdog, as well as that of Focus on the Family’s pluggedinonline.com.

jgapinoy on February 16, 2009 at 8:04 AM

You wanna see poverty? Look at how the Coptic Christians live in Egypt.

Tony737 on February 16, 2009 at 9:40 AM

Another brilliant film from director Danny Boyle. Its got it all: comedy, romance, drama, and a great song from MIA. Who could ask for more?

Ponch007 on February 16, 2009 at 9:52 AM

As a fellow Christian conservative, I would ask that you reconsider by reading my humble review of Slumdog, as well as that of Focus on the Family’s pluggedinonline.com.

jgapinoy on February 16, 2009 at 8:04 AM

Took your suggestion. Here are a few quotes from the latter.

Cultural restraint, though, didn’t prevent Boyle from showing the boys tracking down Latika on a street known for prostitution. They enter a brothel, where audiences see glimpses of half-clothed couples groping each other behind thin curtains, before the siblings finally find Latika, about age 12 or 13, performing in a belly dancing costume…
[Spoiler Warning] When Salim finds a gun, he shoots the orphanage director point-blank in the head…
Elsewhere, the boys’ mother dies after being hit in the face with a pole. On fire, a man runs through the streets while indifferent policemen play cards. A riot takes place near the waterfront; people are beaten. Jamal is beat up and nearly drowned in a bucket of water by police. They later string him up and attach a car battery to his toes, firing a charge of electricity through his thrashing body.

I’ve seen enough. Since when did Christians think this is appropriate? Only since our culture has inundated us with trash in movies and TV. Hello? We have become insensitive to this trash by being bombarded by it and now thinking it’s art! As for the analogy to Dickens, Dickens managed to tell his stories without making them R-rated. So did Hollywood back in the 50′s. But they’ve been pushing the envelope for so long that what would have caused us to walk out of the theater twenty years ago, we now hail as art! I for one, (the only one?) will not.

Christian Conservative on February 16, 2009 at 12:05 PM

Ed,

You’re a month behind….catch up with all of us in the “in-crowd”.

Tim Burton on February 16, 2009 at 2:57 AM

Agreed…and I saw this two months ago.

But I understand there’s a really good film out called “Ghostbusters.” Can you see it and report back to us?

asc85 on February 16, 2009 at 12:10 PM

Both films are on my list of favorites. For those of you comparing the two and acting as if Suspects is the first film to bend the narrative timeline, get real. You must not have seen The Wizard of Oz. There’s only so many places you can start telling a story.

The Race Card, you missed the point. Bending the narrative timeline is A Good Thing, as Martha Stewart might say. Pulp Fiction did it in one of the most creative ways I’ve ever seen. Personally, I’ve always thought Sunset Boulevard had the best narrative timeline; it begins with the main character dead in a pool.

But Slumdog Millionaire simply stole the entire SETTING from The Usual Suspects and did so in a blatant manner. They could have avoided the entire issue by simply having the torture/interrogation take place in an empty soundstage on the studio lot. But instead they ripped off one of the better whodunnits of the last 20 years.

Boooooooooooo! Two thumbs down. And as someone else mentioned, that shootout scene with the brother in a bathtub of money was just ridiculous. You don’t make a point by beating people over the head with symbolism.

The only part I truly enjoyed about the film was the boogie they laid down during the credits. ;)

HebrewToYou on February 16, 2009 at 12:23 PM

The best criticism I’ve read of Slumdog is why do the questions asked in their version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”, the exact order, exactly follow the chronological timeline of his life?

Who cares – I loved it and can’t remember at least a film in 5 years I thought was as satisfying.

Marcus on February 16, 2009 at 12:34 PM

[*spoilers ahead*]

Eh, I thought the film’s whole central narrative wasn’t compelling. This guy is going through all this suffering because he’s in love with this girl, because… well, because why? She’s a cardboard cutout of a character. The only reason he likes her is because they spent some time begging together as kids and he thinks she’s pretty.

In fact, most all of the characters seemed half-baked, or even contradictory (for example, the brother remaining a “devout” Muslim even unto death). If Boyle could have cut down the childhood begging/stealing montages and spent more time actually developing the characters, the film would have been worth more than its visual flair (which I really disliked, that style of blown-out lights/shaky cam/quick cuts just shows directorial laziness, not skill).

Yeah, it’ll probably sweep the Oscars and help bridge the gap between Bollywood and Hollywood, and I do hope it wins best picture, for it does promote values that the other nominated films would sneer at. However, two, three years from now, nobody’s going to care about it or remember it, for the characters just aren’t that likable.

CarpeFishem on February 16, 2009 at 1:24 PM

From the Hot Air Headline link on Men seeing women as objects:

She said that the constant bombardment of society with sexualised images of young women could be to blame and that it “decreased the extinct that they were seen as human”.
She said the effect was rather like violence on television that studies had shown to desensitise people to the affects of violence.
“I think that there is a parallel in seeing lots of sexualised women,” she added. “You get used to it.”

Supports the point to my comments above.

Christian Conservative on February 16, 2009 at 3:59 PM

Slumdog Millionaire is a flat out great movie. Very few movies are able to pull me in emotionally and make me care about the characters, but this one leaves you thinking about it days later.

This movie is an audio and visual treat. The characters are deep and the storyline is well written. Highly recommended for all movie fans.

maleman on February 16, 2009 at 5:19 PM

I went not really expecting to like this movie, but it was really very good. A couple of weeks later, I am still thinking about it! Great story, great photography, direction, acting.

liv2race on February 16, 2009 at 6:42 PM