"Slumdog Millionaire" by Yojimbo
Yojimbo - wrote on 03/18/12
"Slumdog" Jamal who grew up on the streets of Bombay is at the brink of winning the grand prize of India's version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire when is is "questioned" by the police suspecting fraud. Danny Boyle's latest and highly acclaimed project has a lot of the energy that marked his debut. The clever structure of the film uses his explanations on how he knew the answers to fill in the background of what life is like for the most impoverished members of Indian society, brutalized in religious riots, either ignored or harassed by the authorities and exploited by criminals. In this way it's like a more light-hearted and less violent version of City Of God and has a modicum of the power and grittiness of that film. Some of the more disturbing aspects of what these kids go through was made more so by the fact that I watched this film in the company of an Indian person who assured me that these practices actually do go on (and in fact were even toned down for the film version). The entire cast are excellent, even the youngest of the children playing younger versions of the protagonists and the mix of comedy, action and drama is balanced perfectly. Unfortunately the film's strength and depth of character falters during the last reel. Blaming walloping great plot contrivances on "fate" just seemed lazy and the crowd pleasing ending felt a little hollow to me, marring what otherwise was an excellent film. The rest of it is definitely strong enough to warrant a viewing though and for me this is easily Boyle's best work since Trainspotting.