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Slumdog Millionaire Movie poster

A 2008 movie directed by Danny Boyle

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"Slumdog Millionaire" represents the best of cinema, a visceral work of high art.

  • Mar 4, 2009
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A viewing of "Slumdog Millionaire," even if costs a hefty $12 ticket at Westwood's Landmark Theaters, is worth every penny. 

Set in the vibrant city of Mumbai, India, the film tells an impassioned rags-to-riches fairy tale about survival against all odds and uncompromising love. 

"Slumdog" is a wondrous accomplishment from director Danny Boyle, modern cinema's most versatile filmmaker   Look at his fine repertoire: drug-fueled comedy ("Trainspotting"), zombie thriller ("28 Days Later"), coming-of-age family film (the underappreciated "Millions"), and even Stanley Kubrick-style sci-fi ("Sunshine"). 

Adapted by screenwriter Simon Beaufoy from the novel Q & A, the film chronicles Jamal, a teenage orphan, set to answer the last question and win 20 million rupees on the Indian version of the game show "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire."  But that would be too easy. Instead, police arrest Jamal and accuse him of cheating, seeing it impossible that a kid raised in the slums could answer difficult questions that have stumped doctors and lawyers.  This brilliant framing device allows the exploration of each answer to segue into vignettes from Jamal's rough childhood, spent with his older brother Salim.

The boys witness their mother murdered by anti-Muslim fanatics in and spend their days as young street rats, no more than 8 years old, scouring for food in trash dumps.  During a night of pouring rain, the boys huddle in a train car, while Latika, a soaked young girl, shivers in the background.  In an act of kindness, Jamal invites her to join them.  Boyle and long-time cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantel dazzle with visuals like the crisp image of the brothers as silhouettes in the foreground with a lonely, wet girl behind them, beautifully highlighting the poverty these children suffer. 

As the story unfolds, the trio is picked up by a dangerous gang run by adults who use children to beg for money.  In a harrowing escape, Salim flees with Jamal but leaves Latika behind.  The boys live aboard a train for a bit and even stumble across a strange building they find out is the Taj Mahal.  A few years pass as Salim becomes more cynical while experiencing the temptations and consequences of gang life and Jamal strives to reunite with his destined love, Latika.  

The film bursts with energy from Boyle's signature visual flair.  Using hand-held cameras he captures the crowded frenzy of India's slums in exciting chase sequences while cutting back at times to wide shots that showcase India's urban landscape.  Equally exciting is the movie's vigorous soundtrack, a compelling assortment of pop hits with ethnic panache like M.I.A.'s "Paper Planes."

The three characters are best realized by the actors who play their teen versions, especially Dev Patel as Jamal, an unwavering optimist who uses his wits to fight unspeakable obstacles in the name of love.  Salim, played by Madhur Mittal, becomes a self-serving force of evil with a hidden tenderness.  And Latika, played by Freida Pinto, is so strikingly beautiful with a dash of buried sadness that you could see why Jamal would crawl to the ends of the earth to be with her.

Their reunion carries the film to dramatic heights and even overshadows the game show's tense finale.

"Slumdog Millionaire" represents the best of cinema, a visceral work of high art that ends on a beautiful, unforgettable note.

slumdog millionaire

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May 21, 2009
nice review, I figured I'd re-read your write up one more time. I love your enthusiasm in your review, your opening paragraph says it all!
May 24, 2009
I had the chance to see it a month before it came out in theaters and was completely blown away. I know some who have not liked it b/c of over-hype, but if you can watch it for what it is, an epic, dark, romantic crowd-pleaser, there's a lot of fun to be had.
May 24, 2009
yeh. I can definitely see where you're coming from. I just couldn't help comparing it to "City of God".
May 25, 2009
speaking of City of God, that director's latest "Blindness" was a messy disappointment
May 25, 2009
I've seen "Blindness" and for me, it was ok, but was too surreal and pointless. Sometimes foreign directors get held back when they go mainstream, a lot of asian dirctors experience the same thing.
May 25, 2009
Yeah, it was way too dark and hard to like.
March 04, 2009
While it may or may not be the best movie of the year it is certainly the most engrossing and the most touching. I count myself lucky for having seen it in the theater rather than waiting for the DVD since the big screen gives a more crushing sense of the poverty in Mumbai. I've noticed that the tv ads for the film concentrate heavily on scenes taken from the film's END CREDITS where everyone is dancing! It makes it look like a typical Bollywood film. I love Bollywood flix and can't wait for everyone to break out into song and dance, but its going to give anyone who expects the entire film to be like that a very rude awakening. At the same time I can't believe that there are people who have actually accused Boyle of uglying up the slums for the movie!
March 04, 2009
Okay, I'm sold. I'm officially watching Slumdog Millionaire this weekend!
More Slumdog Millionaire reviews
review by . April 14, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
There is an underlying sweetness to Slumdog Millionaire which is belied by its overt brutality. This movie is a nasty, gritty and very realistic depiction of the slums, but in the end it proves to be an uplifting, heartwarming, and inspirational fairy tale and love story in the vein of Walt Disney. The very hard life which Jamal, the main character and hero of Slumdog Millionaire, reveals before our eyes makes us root for him harder than most other protagonists over the last decade. Jamal is a very …
Quick Tip by . October 01, 2010
I read the advertisements and couldn't imagine why I'd like it, but it really does pull you in.
Quick Tip by . September 25, 2010
Excellent storytelling from a great director, fantastic cast and superb narrative
Quick Tip by . July 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
This movie was phenomenal on every possible level. Breathtaking cinematography, heart wrenching human interest, engaging characters, unpredictable plot, sincere romance, original dialogue, and super super tense moments. I wish I could see a movie this good every time we go to the theater!!! If only ; )
review by . May 18, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
"…If you look hard enough, Life can give you all the answers." This is one phrase I've always been told and director Danny Boyle's adaptation of the novel by Vikas Swarup tells a very whimsical tale. The film has won several Academy film awards, most probably because of its portrayal of humanity. The film is a rousing crowd-pleaser, it is an excellent tale of life, love and delightful destiny. Jamal Malik (Dev Patel) is a young man on the verge of winning a significant large fortune …
review by . November 16, 2009
   I enjoyed this film but I did not feel it was as great as all the hype it has received.  The director uses flashbacks in a confusing manner starting with an adult Jamal being tortured in a Mumbai police station.  We are then treated to all kinds of flashbacks with an adult Jamal playing the India version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire and a very poor kid Jamal being abused by his bully brother Salim.  Salim locks Jamal in an outhouse when the local celebrity comes to …
review by . March 03, 2010
Slumdog Misogynist
This story is so well crafted that the viewer suspends their reason and disbelief, and by the end of the movie we all overlook the simple but persistant message of the film... women are stupid.        Having an almost entirely male cast (one of the two female characters is quickly bludgeoned to death in the beginning of the film,) the focus intensifies on the singular female character.  The writers and directors would have us believe that as a "helpless" little …
Quick Tip by . June 30, 2010
awesome movie..i love watching this movie over and over again
Quick Tip by . June 07, 2010
UNBELIEVABLE. What an incredible movie. Really moving, eye-opening, and overall entertaining. Can't wait to read the book as well.
review by . February 25, 2009
I know it's been said a million times already and I hate to sound cliché, but it's a statement that rings true every time you say it. Who would have thought Danny Boyle, a man from Manchester could have created such an award winning phenomenon. Slumdog Millionaire is a film I tried to keep away from as long as possible as I didn't want to seem like a person who jumps on the bandwagon. I guess it was inevitable that I was to see it eventually and tonight was the night. It has remained in my memory …
About the reviewer
Eric Horwitz ()
Ciao!     My world in a nutshell: Born in the humble beach town of Ventura, CA I went to UCLA with ambitions to pursue journalism and film. I studied literature and picked up Italian … more
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About this movie


Slumdog Millionaire is a 2008 British drama film directed by Danny Boyle, with co-director Loveleen Tandan, and written by Simon Beaufoy. It is an adaptation of the Boeke Prize winning and Commonwealth Writers' Prize nominated novel Q and A by Indian author and diplomat Vikas Swarup.

An eighteen-year-old from the slums of Mumbai finds himself competing on the game show "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," where the questions he must answer offer a look back at his earlier life. The show's host, however, insists that he must be cheating and takes steps to force young Jamal to admit that a boy from such an impoverished background could not possibly possess the knowledge necessary to win the show's top prize.

2008 Oscar Nominations
  1. Achievement in Cinematography
  2. Achievement in Directing
  3. Achievement in Film Editing
  4. Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score)
  5. Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song, "Jai Ho")
  6. Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song, " O Saya")
  7. Best Motion Picture of the Year
  8. Achievement in Sound Editing
  9. Achievement in Sound Mixing
  10. Adapted Screenplay
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Movies, Foreign Films, Foreign Movies, Reel Overseas, Bollywood, Indian Films, 2008 Oscar Nominee, 2008 Best Picture Oscar Nominee, Oscar Winner, 2008 Oscar Winner, 2008 Best Picture Oscar Winner, Best Picture Oscar Winner


Release Date: November 2008 (US)
Runtime: 120 Min

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