By Fred Topel | Image property of Fox Searchlight Pictures
I get why Slumdog Millionaire is getting all the raves. It's well done and it's the kind of movie that gets people's attention. Just not mine.
Review: Slumdog Millionaire
The winner of India's version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire gets interrogated on suspicion of cheating. In revealing his life story, he explains how he happened to know all the answers to each question.
Juxtaposing tragedy with a frivolous game show is an effective technique, on a basic level. The slumdog's experiences are indeed intense, with the occasional poopy story to break the tension. It's also no harder core than Tsotsi or Hotel Rwanda. So it sucks to be poor in India too.
The framing device really is too cute. We get it. Every question relates to one of his hard life lessons. Also, whether they still play it in India or not, nobody cares about Millionaire here anymore.
As I said, I give the filmmaking basic credit for capturing the story, but it also relies on easy crutches. It's way too loud, something which I would have attributed to the screening room itself. However, when I asked them to adjust it, I was informed that it was Danny Boyle's mandate that it be screened at that level. Well, I'm just gonna get the film on DVD and crank my sound all the way down and Danny Boyle can't stop me. Seriously, I don't need the pulsating sound to give me actual chest palpitations to create tension.
Boyle was so visionary in Trainspotting. Now all he does is tilt the camera in every shot. You know, if the whole movie looks like that, then it's not askew anymore. It becomes normal. And also tilting the camera in the first place just looks like a tilted camera, not a warped vision.
The Bollywood dance number at the end is the best part. That has high energy. The rest of the movie is just an adequate triumph over adversity through whimsical non sequiturs. That to me just preys on guilty consciences who think watching a movie atones for ignoring the real situation.