Movie Review – Slumdog Millionaire

Two weeks ago I won free preview tickets to see Slumdog Millionaire at Landmark Theater’s Edina 4 in the Twin Cities.

Here is the trailer,

I have to say this was a great movie, and I am not alone in thinking that, as it won the People’s Choice Award at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival.  As I have attended TIFF twice, I do have this caveat to make about that award, it was shown three times (most movies only have two screenings) and twice at Ryerson Theater which has a larger capacity than many of the screens.  So more people would have seen this movie at the fest than most of the other movies.

SPOILERS BELOW

Basically the story is about Malik who is is one question away from wining the big prize on India’s version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, which happens to be 20 million rupees.  Now a movie about a game show would just be painful.  But that just sets up the framework for the story.  See Jamal Malik grew up in the slums with his brother after being orphaned due to religious violence.  After the violent attack on his community, they connect with Latika who is his love interest throughout the movie.

Jamal gets arrested by the police because the host of the game show can’t believe that this kid from the slums, this slumdog, could know the answer to all these questions.  The allows the movie to use the flashback storytelling device to explain how he knew the answers to the questions he successfully answered on the game show (I will stop with the plot here).  The movie tells of Jamal’s story in three different time periods, and so the main characters, Jamal, Latika, and his brother Salim are portrayed by three different actors.  As with the Kite Runner and City of God, the children actors are quite good.

Since the US version of the game show Who Wants to be a Millionaire? came out I have hated it.  So much time wasted, so much fake drama and suspense.  The nice thing about this movie, is that the flashbacks really do provide the suspense and despite the similar production values for the Indian version of the game, it isn’t annoying at all.

As I said to the person getting quotes after the movie, “the people in Toronto got it right.” This was a very good movie, and if you go see it you won’t be disappointed.

-Josh

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