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January 9, 2009

10

Slumdog Millionaire

by Franz Patrick


Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
★★★ / ★★★★

I enjoyed this film quite a bit but I think most people tend to oversell it. Yes, it’s uplifting because it’s about a boy who lived in poverty and is eventually given the chance to win twenty million rupees. Dev Patel (“Skins”) did a pretty good job as the main character but his acting is not ground-breaking. He shows potential to become more nuanced as an actor and that’s always a good thing. And I have to admit that the last twenty to thirty minutes are very exciting and involving because everything is at stake. However, I’ve seen it all before. I expected more from Danny Boyle because he does make great movies such as “Trainspotting,” “28 Days Later,” and “Millions.” This film, however, doesn’t leave the platform of “just good” because the middle is too messy; it ran thirty minutes too long. When I look at the big picture, the film would’ve been stronger if the middle had been condensed because it would’ve had more focus. This picture aims to please the crowd and it will definitely hook the fans of (another overrated film) called “City of God.” Both feature impoverished individuals trying to attain a chance to lead a better life. I’m glad that foreign films are being recognized, but I wish casual American moviegoers wouldn’t jump at every foreign film where they see some sort of hardship. It really shows how unaware they are about the state of the rest of the world. Anyway, I’m recommending this film despite the familiarity of it all because it has an interesting premise and a good soundtrack. It’s not as great as everyone says it is but it does entertain and makes one ponder about his destiny.

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10 Comments Post a comment
  1. Anorak
    Jan 10 2009

    Quite a balanced and hence a very refreshing review, I must say. Do come by and read my take on it too. It is an Indian take, so perhaps it might interest you.

    Reply
  2. Jan 13 2009

    I would love to read your review, but you didn’t specify a URL. =[

    Reply
  3. Anorak
    Jan 14 2009
  4. Jan 24 2009

    To me, the final 30 minutes more than makes up for whatever messiness their might have been in the previous hour and a half. It’s finale is tightly constructed, exciting and endearing that I was totally hooked. On a different note, that was pretty much what happened when I saw ‘Babel’, another movie experiencing a slight backlash due to its well-meaning message and humanist streak. I ended up loving that one too.

    Note that I’m not saying that you hold all these views, only that some of the reception of ‘Slumdog’ touches on those points.

    Reply
  5. Jan 25 2009

    But don’t you think that the last 30 minutes were a bit commercial or “Hollywood” for something that’s supposed to be so “different”? I kinda liked the last 30 minutes, too, but it didn’t match the overall mood of the film now that I look back on it. And that throws me off a little.

    “Babel,” I think, is underrated by casual filmgoers. I remember watching that movie while I was wrapped in my favorite blankie and I was so into it. lol

    Reply
  6. Jan 26 2009

    If the last 30 minutes of ‘Slumdog’ is what Hollywood looks like, I only wish Hollywood would take note! I think many people try to make ‘Slumdog’ seem deeper than it really is. So long as you watch as first and foremost a love story, it’s a lovely experience.

    Reply
  7. Jan 26 2009

    “I think many people try to make ‘Slumdog’ seem deeper than it really is.”

    ^ That’s EXACTLY what I’m feeling but I couldn’t find the right words to express it… until now. Thanks!

    Hopefully, it won’t win Best Picture come Oscar night. The magic is bound to end some time.

    Reply
  8. Jan 28 2009

    I haven’t seen other best picture contenders yet, and thus I wouldn’t mind if ‘Slumdog’ won (I sense I liked it a lot more than you did), but I holding off judgment for now. Saw the excellent ‘The Times of Harvey Milk’ documentary (1984) last night though, so now I’m really getting my hopes (even more) up for van Sant’s fictionalized take.

    Reply
  9. Jan 29 2009

    Yep, definitely watch the other Best Picture contenders. I actually think that, out of all the Best Picture nominees, “Slumdog Millionaire” is the weakest one (3 stars out of 4). But! I haven’t seen “Frost/Nixon.”

    I think everyone is giving it critical praise because everybody loves an underdog story. People have been saying that “Slumdog Millionaire” is this year’s “Juno” but I think the latter is a much stronger picture.

    Go see MILK! hehehe. I wish it was out on DVD right now. =[

    Reply
  10. Jan 29 2009

    Unfortunately, Milk is not set for Norwegian release until February 20, just a couple of days before the Oscars.

    Although I’m not exactly sure I agree with the point it makes, be sure to read Denis Lim’s criticism in Slate of ‘Slumdog’s have-it-both-ways attitude:

    http://www.slate.com/id/2209783/

    About the supposed underdog status of ‘Slumdog’, Troy Patterson (he too of Slate) sarcastically wrote:

    “Don’t you know that Slumdog, like Little Miss Sunshine and Juno before it, is the property of News Corp.’s Fox Searchlight? And that News Corp. has long been admired as the Little Conglomerate That Could? How could you fail to be moved by an underdog story like that?”

    That really had me laughing out loud.

    Reply

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