Slumdog Millionaire, the best film of 2008 by far, I saw this back in December after hearing a little bit about it on the net. I was so excited to see that it was playing at my local theater and I didn't hesitate to see it when it was released. There are a lot of people who are just asking why this film is so popular or loved, the reason why in my opinion is that it's just a happy film. We usually have a best picture winner that is depressing, but instead Slumdog Millionaire just lifts your spirits and makes you cry in joy. I couldn't believe how much I loved this film, after reading a summary on what it was about, I was just confused and wondering if this film was really going to be good. But we have these unknown young actors: Dev Peitel, Freida Pinto and Madhur Mittal who pull in heart wrenching performances and you can't help but love their characters and just keep rooting for them. All in all, this film is a love story. Most film lovers fear those words after Titanic because everyone thought it to be a predictable puppy love story, this love story however is made in strength and faith and you can't help but keep wanting Jamal and Latika to be together. Even though I saw the film a while back, I still remember it like I saw it yesterday.
A title card is presented: "Jamal Malik is one question away from winning 20 million rupees. How did he do it? A) He cheated, B) He's lucky, C) He's a genius, D) It is written." Jamal is a contestant on the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? hosted by Prem Kumar in which he was on the show and won 20,000,000 rupees (about US$500,000). Jamal then explains that, while at least the question about Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan was very simple, he knew the answers of most questions by chance, because of things that happened in his life. This is conveyed in a series of flashbacks documenting the details of his childhood. This includes scenes of him obtaining Bachchan's autograph, the death of his mother during the Hindu anti-Muslim violence, rekindling the memory of the 1993 anti-Muslim attacks in Mumbai by Hindu nationalists in the slums, and how he and his brother Salim befriend Latika. The children are eventually discovered by Maman while they live in the trash heaps. Maman is a gangster who "collects" street children so that he can ultimately train them to beg for money. Salim is groomed to become a part of Maman's operation and is asked to bring Jamal to Maman in order to be blinded. Salim protects his brother, and the three children try to escape; but only Salim and Jamal are able to do so. Latika is re-captured by Maman's organization and raised as a culturally talented prostitute whose virginity will fetch a high price. The brothers eke out a living, traveling on top of trains, selling goods, pretending to be tour guides at the Taj Mahal, and picking pockets. Jamal eventually insists that they return to Mumbai since he wishes to locate Latika. When he finds her working as a dancer in a brothel, the brothers attempt to rescue her, but Maman intrudes, and in the resulting conflict Salim draws a gun and kills Maman. Salim then uses the fact that he killed Maman to obtain a job with Javed a rival crime lord. Salim claims Latika as his own and when Jamal protests, Salim threatens to kill him and Latika intervenes, accepting her fate with Salim.
Years later, Jamal has a position at a call center. When he is asked to cover for a co-worker for a couple of minutes, he searches the database for Salim and Latika. He gets in touch with Salim, who has become a high-ranking lieutenant in Javed's organization. Jamal confronts a regretful Salim on tense terms. Salim invites Jamal to live with him and after following Salem, he sees Latika living there. He talks his way in as the new chef and tries to convince Latika to leave. She tries to discourage him, but on the first day that Jamal waits at the train station, Latika attempts to escape with him, but is recaptured by Salim and Javed's men. One of the men then slashes her cheek with a knife, scarring her as Salim drives off, leaving Jamal with the onlooking crowd. Jamal again loses contact with Latika when Javed moves to another house. In another attempt to find Latika, Jamal tries out for the popular game show because he knows that she will be watching.
I cannot wait for this movie to be released on DVD, it's a terrific uplifting movie that just captures your heart and makes you feel good. I couldn't believe that people were just complaining about the ending dance sequence, it was a TERRIFIC way to end it, to see everything that Jamal went through and that dance just makes you feel happy because you can tell the joy of him having his Latika in his arms. It was a beautiful ending and makes you extremely joyful. The story is brutal, funny, sad, original and beautiful. Danny Boyle, I knew that this director had something special when he made the horror film 28 Days Later, but who knew he could pull of such an uplifting beautifully made film? He picked the perfect actors, made the film wonderfully, and the whole crew seemed to enjoy making this together. Who wouldn't? It was a pleasure to watch on the screen and if you haven't seen this film in the theater, buy it when it comes on DVD, it's one of the most terrific experiences I've had watching a film. We haven't had a film like Slumdog Millionaire and it's one of my new favorite films of all time.
Action / Crime / Drama / Romance
Action / Crime / Drama / Romance
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The story of Jamal Malik, an 18 year-old orphan from the slums of Mumbai, who is about to experience the biggest day of his life. With the whole nation watching, he is just one question away from winning a staggering 20 million rupees on India's Kaun Banega Crorepati? (2000) (Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?) But when the show breaks for the night, police arrest him on suspicion of cheating; how could a street kid know so much? Desperate to prove his innocence, Jamal tells the story of his life in the slum where he and his brother grew up, of their adventures together on the road, of vicious encounters with local gangs, and of Latika, the girl he loved and lost. Each chapter of his story reveals the key to the answer to one of the game show's questions. Each chapter of Jamal's increasingly layered story reveals where he learned the answers to the show's seemingly impossible quizzes. But one question remains a mystery: what is this young man with no apparent desire for riches really doing on the game show? When the new day dawns and Jamal returns to answer the final question, the Inspector and sixty million viewers are about to find out. At the heart of its storytelling lies the question of how anyone comes to know the things they know about life and love.
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