Who Wants To Be A ‘Slumdog Millionaire’

Slumdog Millionaire (2008)There are quite a few movies out there that get nominated for all kinds of awards that are complete crap.  This however, is not one of them.  Slumdog Millionaire has been nominated for 10 Oscars including Best Picture and it may very well be just that (we’ll leave out the fact that The Wrestler and The Dark Knight weren’t even nominated, but that’s another story).  Directed by Danny Boyle (28 Days LaterTrainspotting, A Life Less Ordinary), Slumdog is well worth the time.

This is a pretty straight forward plot but there’s quite a bit of depth to it when you get into it.  On the surface it’s about Jamal Malik (played by Dev Patel), a teen who is a contestant on the Indian version of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire”.  The story is told in a series of flashbacks that explain how Jamal knows the answers to specific questions he’s being asked on the show.  The local police don’t quite believe that he’s smart enough to be doing so well on the show so he’s forced to explain to them HOW he knows specific answers.

Through the flashbacks we learn the back story of Jamal, his brother Salim and their friend (and the love of Jamal’s life) Latika.  We learn how they become “The Three Musketeers”, what happens to them throughout the years and where their relationships take them.  All three characters have a specific story to be told and while Jamal’s is certainly the central one the other two are definitely interesting.

I’d heard very good things about this movie before I saw it which normally leads to a pretty bad review.  It’s rare that a movie lives up to its billing.  This one started out very slow but before I knew it I found myself actually caring what happened to the characters.  In fact I realized that I cared more about some of the secondary story lines rather than the main “Millionaire”plot.

The acting in this is top notch.  I have to say that I’m not familiar with any of the actors in this film which I think actually lends itself to the authenticity of the film.

  • Dev Patel plays Jamal Malik – a very convincing performance.  Plays off the naivety of his character flawlessly.  He delivers his lines in a manner that makes you really feel for him.  He’s a great main character in that you want him to succeed.
  • Anil Kapoor plays Prem Kumar – as the smarmy host of the show he’s an outstanding part of the film.
  • Freida Pinto plays Latika – her character goes through quite a bit of change throughout the film.  She’s very believable and if I may be so bold — HOT.
  • Madhur Mittal plays Salim Malik – in the older brother role Madhur excels.  He’s very good as “the dick” and “the caring brother”.

I’d definitely recommend this movie.  Well worth seeing especially if you’re into a movie for a feel good story.  Not a ton of action to speak of, no sex and not even a super strong villain.  But if you’re looking for a good movie that will make you think and has a great conclusion this is the flick for you.

You owe it to yourself to watch through the credits.  You won’t get any more story here but it’ll be WELL worth your time.  The best way I can describe it is if you mixed a MTV video, Indian line dancing and a Billy Blanks Tae Bo video… No shit!  Not sure why it’s in there or what’s going on but it sure is entertaining!

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