JT Film Review

60 – Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

Slumdog Millionaire REVIEW

3/5 stars

Director – Danny Boyle, Loveleen Tandan (India)

Cast – Dev Patel, Freida Pinto, Anil Kapoor

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slumdog-millionaireSlumdog Millionaire barely skipped a straight-to-DVD release and made its way to theatres, receiving amazing critical acclaim and audience popularity. Personally I wish it had stayed in the straight-to-DVD bin, so we could have avoided all this hype and hoopla. I am really at a loss to see why this movie won the Best Picture Oscar. The Wrestler didn’t even get nominated, for goodness’ sake, and that movie was much better. MUCH better.

Now it’s not a bad movie. It’s just not (in my opinion) anywhere near as good as people are saying it is. It’s flashy, yes. It’s “full of life”, yes. But it doesn’t have anything to it. Story-line wise it has nothing. Nada. Zippo. Or at least nothing to warrant the amount of attention that it has received.

The actors are quite good. Dev Patel plays the title character, a young man whose life experiences have given him an astonishing amount of knowledge in trivial matters. He enters the “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” show to catch the eye of the girl of his dreams. Anil Kapoor plays the somewhat villainous “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” host, who seems intent on not letting Patel win the final jackpot. He is a smarmy, creepy man, and Anil plays the role to the hilt.

However all the best acting in the world won’t help a lousy story, and that is in general what we have here. The aspect of looking back on his life by seeing how he knows answers to trivia questions is a nice hook, granted. But all the story amounts to is guy meets girl, guy loses girl, guy meets girl again and they fall in love for ever and ever. And how can we as an audience be excited about that age-old tale? Not by this, we can’t. Or I couldn’t anyway.

OVERALL

Slumdog Millionaire is a well acted and well-directed movie. Unfortunately the story pulls it down and makes it, in the end, largely forgettable. I know this is something many people disagree with, but ultimately the movie did nothing for me. However I know many will like it, and I do recommend it, but only barely.

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TRAILER

“Slumdog Millionaire” on other websites:

IMDB —– Rotten Tomatoes —– Wikipedia

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October 27, 2009 - Posted by | 3 Stars, Film Review, Genre - Drama, Year - 2000-2009 | , , , ,

4 Comments »

  1. I liked the movie. I didn’t really see it as a love story… rather a story to make us realize that we can learn from our experiences….how to persevere and overcome adversity and,that by doing so, we can be successful… maybe that’s why it seemed a little slow or boring to some… because it was just everyday stuff not filled with unbelievable stunts, etc … Just my thoughts! 🙂

    Comment by Rach | October 28, 2009 | Reply

  2. Thanks for the comment!
    I agree that it was not slow, definitely. However I do think it was filled with unbelievable stunts. Not physical stunts, Die Hard style explosions etc, but stunts of story telling that were twice as unbelievable as anything John McClane ever did. The story just didn’t ring true to me.
    It is definitely well paced and energetically told, though, I definitely agree with you there. I recomend it,but barely.

    Comment by jamesturpin | October 28, 2009 | Reply

  3. Predictable voice of dissent incoming…

    It’s interesting that you mention The Wrestler because I think many of the flaws you attribute to Slumdog are more applicable to Aronofsky’s movie. A great performance from Mickey Rourke and some visceral cinematography don’t disguise the generic story and archetypoal characters – a hooker with a heart of gold and a washed-up sports star whose daughter has disowned him taking one last shot at the bigtime. If that’s not generic I don’t know what is. I find it odd that the Wrestler got so much more hype than Rocky Balboa (2006) because they’re very similar films.

    Both Slumdog and The Wrestler rely on established conventions, but I think Slumdog brings more to the table with it’s cleverly-framed plot and diverse characters.

    Just my 2 cents.

    I’m enjoying digging through your blog.

    Comment by Martin | October 28, 2009 | Reply

    • I must admit I hadn’t thought about The Wrestler as having a generic storyline. Now that I think about it I realize that to be somewhat accurate.
      However, the difference I guess is exactly that: when I was watching The Wrestler I didn’t feel that the characters were cutouts or that the story was bland. It was an engaging movie with real-feeling events and characters. With Slumdog I just didn’t feel that.
      However I grant you that The Wrestler’s story isn’t that original. I hadn’t thought of that.

      Comment by jamesturpin | October 28, 2009 | Reply


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