Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Movie Review: Slumdog Millionaire

As I mentioned, I went with a friend of mine to see Slumdog Millionaire. Below is what I thought of it. Afterwards, we went to Slate, to a David Shapiro party. He's some sort of party planner. The weather was bad, so it was a really light crowd. They have ping pong and pool and foosball there. We started playing ping pong, which I thought was a little anti-social, but my friend is clearly more advanced than I because she was not in the least bit surprised when a group of guys came over to turn our singles game into a doubles game. It was a group of five Israeli guys and they used the corner for a home base and cycled into and out of playing partners with us. Nothing further to report.

Slumdog Millionaire
Or, as the Indian "What Wants to be a Millionaire" host says, "mill-on-air."

Okay, this is not as good as everyone says. It's pretty good, but not as good as all that. My friend JJ has this theory that the press it's getting has to do with the snobbery of Americans and movies and that any time anyone in a foreign country, especially on with non-whites, and it's any good, we go all gaga over and think things like, "Look at the dark people. They can make movies, too." I'm not sure that theory holds water because it assumes that most movies coming out of other countries aren't up to snuff, but first of all, maybe they're not and second of all, I don't have a competing theory.

Oh, wait. I just looked it up and the director is Danny Boyle, who I think is British. Maybe that has something to do with it. He directed "Trainspotting," which was very, very different. God, I still can't get the baby from the film out of my mind. If you saw it, you know what I'm talking about. I won't give anyone else nightmares about it.

Anyway, I haven't seen any ads for this movie, but the person who told me about it really liked it and gave me the basic outline, which will I will now give you, which you know immediately in the movie so I am not giving away anything. This movie is about a boy from the slums of India who manages to get on the Indian version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" and does very well. The secret police think he must be cheating so he tells them how he knew the answers to the questions that were asked. I made the mistake of thinking this was a feel good film. What my workmate did not tell me is that it opens on a scene of torture and the rest of the movie has horrible things happening. I won't tell you how it ends, obviously. It could end happily or unhappily (or, as I think of it, as an American movie or as a French movie) and that doesn't change the fact that the movie itself, in it's depiction of India is disturbing. So that's a word of fair warning.

1 comment:

  1. I actually can't wait to see this movie. It's number one on my list after a) hearing about it on NPR, b) seeing a clip on Leno, and c) listening to a co-worker rave about its brilliance. We'll have to discuss afterwards.