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Slumdog Millionaire

Posted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 8:07 pm UTC
by natraj
There is no topic for this! So I am making one. I normally don't pay much attention to Oscar stuff but I just noticed today that it's up for Best Picture, and I really hope it wins.

It was definitely one of the best movies I have seen in a really long time. Pretty intense and hard to watch in some parts but, I thought, very beautifully done.

Re: Slumdog Millionaire

Posted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 8:48 pm UTC
by charliepanayi
Well let's start with what I liked about the film - it looks amazing (and that's just Frieda Pinto!), and has a very good soundtrack. They do a very good job of capturing a lot of the facets of Mumbai. And Dev Patel is very winning and sympathetic in the lead role. The first half of the film is the strongest part, managing to blend comedic and serious moments (which is very hard to do well) to good effect. But the second half isn't quite as satisfying, and the ending though it has a great moment of high tension (and I was tempted to leap up and shout something in the cinema at one moment XD) maybe wasn't as good as I'd hoped. Plus the relationship between Jamal and his brother felt a little City of God-lite at times. But I don't want to let these grievances obscure the fact it's a very good film, always compelling and well worth seeing. The end-credits are great too.

I'm loath to give out marks to films usually, but this was about a B+ for me I think.

In the end I think this is the sort of film which will either you have you grinning like an idiot at the end or rolling your eyes. I do hope though it doesn't suffer the sort of absurd backlash that similar films in the past like Lost in Translation, Juno and Little Miss Sunshine have suffered. And unlike Benjamin Button or The Reader the film feels a lot less like Oscar-bait, so I hope it does pick up Best Picture next weekend.

Re: Slumdog Millionaire

Posted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 5:56 am UTC
by TrinityJ
Slumdog is a great movie, and its culturally accurate. That's hard to find in Hollywood pictures.
9/10 for sure. Almost as good as the wresler....RAM JAM!

Re: Slumdog Millionaire

Posted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:57 pm UTC
by tin
I loved it. The pace, the soundtrack, the interesting narrative form it took - loved it all. I want to take part in an impromptu Bollywood dance off, dammit.

Although, the opinion on it with everyone I've asked so far is very love/hate. A lot mentioned how schmaltzy it got in some parts, especially towards the end. This was one thing which made me cringe slightly, but I was so swept up in its tornado of feel good, it's a minor point for me. But also...

charliepanayi wrote: Plus the relationship between Jamal and his brother felt a little City of God-lite at times.


...this. Which is no bad thing, as City Of God is fucking brilliant, but this did make me a lot more critical of the film.

Re: Slumdog Millionaire

Posted: Thu Feb 19, 2009 4:57 am UTC
by sugarhyped
I just wanna say I thought it was great. I'm glad i saw it because I kind of got dragged there. I think I liked the kid version of the main character. He was adorable.
I also agree that the soundtrack rocked. I think paper planes on the train fit here much better than in pineapple express.

Re: Slumdog Millionaire

Posted: Thu Feb 19, 2009 5:12 am UTC
by une see
Everything about the childhood was good and incredibly visually stunning. I especially loved the humor in the childhood bits! The romance/game show stuff...too cheesy for my taste. It just all got waaaaaay too over-the-top at the end.
Spoiler:
Salim filling that tub with money, and then getting shot to death in his...tub of money? Come on.

Re: Slumdog Millionaire

Posted: Thu Feb 19, 2009 5:28 am UTC
by Kizyr
What I posted at another forum:

Slumdog Millionaire: This was an amazing film. I saw it a couple months ago before all the Golden Globes/BAFTA/Oscar buzz, but it's definitely a film deserving of that much praise. If you haven't seen it yet, I strongly, strongly recommend trying to find it.

All in all, it's a beautiful film. Danny Boyle really brought out the character in his setting of choice (mostly Mumbai); it was a great move to film it on-location in Mumbai (including in the slums) rather than building sets, and it paid off. Beyond that, the acting from all corners was brilliant. Dev Patel did an amazing job as the nervous-but-confident lead, Irfan Khan was perfect as the policeman in the beginning (he was also Asoka in The Namesake, another of my favorite movies), and the kids they had acting in the main characters' younger years were spot-on.

Plot-wise, it's based on the book Q&A by Vikas Swarup. Yet despite the plot being easy to figure out, there are so many suspenseful moments in the movie, and you'll find yourself on the edge of your seat much of the time. It comes together as a series of many relatively minor events, but tied together through the central plot, and by the end it just feels complete.

The soundtrack (by A. R. Rahman) also won a BAFTA award, and was well-deserved. I'll probably pick up both the soundtrack and the DVD this week.
__________________________

I hear what folks say about some of the sappiness. But, I liked that aspect of it. Not every movie needs to be utterly realistic, and realism doesn't necessarily mean it'll be gripping, dramatic, and enjoyable. It can be all of those things even while having certain unrealistic elements. KF

Re: Slumdog Millionaire

Posted: Fri Feb 20, 2009 10:39 pm UTC
by the_bandersnatch
I watched it last weekend with friends and we all really enjoyed it, but all also agreed that the first half of the movie (the childhood parts told in flashback to the interrogator) were much more gripping and moving than the primarily gameshow second half. Someone also pointed out that the film keeps moving into drawn-out musical segments just like a Bollywood film would, except in this film it wasn't to burst into song and dance (dance over the credits not withstanding). I wouldn't have noticed if he hadn't pointed it out.

Definitely worth seeing though.

Re: Slumdog Millionaire

Posted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 9:54 am UTC
by Joeldi
Apart from the fact I could guess the ending from very early on, I was very pleased with it. And ya, those kids were brilliant.

Re: Slumdog Millionaire

Posted: Mon Mar 02, 2009 11:34 pm UTC
by exquisite tea
TrinityJ wrote:its culturally accurate


haha, no. the film amount to little more than povery tourism.

westerners can watch it, feel good about themselves because they know more about serious issues, but it's okay, because it had a happy ending too, because no-one would want to actually think about these things if there wasn't a feel-good moment.

i also found it pretty offensive how the love interest got progressively whiter as she got older.

Re: Slumdog Millionaire

Posted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 2:57 am UTC
by invisibl
I think paper planes on the train fit here much better than in pineapple express.

word squared.

Re: Slumdog Millionaire

Posted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 9:37 am UTC
by charliepanayi
exquisite tea wrote:
TrinityJ wrote:its culturally accurate


haha, no. the film amount to little more than povery tourism.

westerners can watch it, feel good about themselves because they know more about serious issues, but it's okay, because it had a happy ending too, because no-one would want to actually think about these things if there wasn't a feel-good moment.

i also found it pretty offensive how the love interest got progressively whiter as she got older.


Yeah, I mean the bits like
Spoiler:
seeing a kid get blinded so he can get more money from begging and a child's mother get killed rather brutally by religious rioters
, that's real poverty tourism! It's not City of God sure (but then nothing is), but it's hardly a Richard Curtis version of India either. Just because the film is 'feel-good' doesn't make it less of a film or less relevant.

Re: Slumdog Millionaire

Posted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 11:14 am UTC
by eternal luna
My father was in pretty much the same situation as those kids when he was young, and it made the film pretty difficult to watch. Still, it was pretty good, though clichéd in some sections.

Re: Slumdog Millionaire

Posted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 8:53 pm UTC
by ishikiri
TrinityJ wrote:Slumdog is a great movie, and its culturally accurate. That's hard to find in Hollywood pictures.
9/10 for sure. Almost as good as the wresler....RAM JAM!

Its not a Hollywood flick though, its an Indy purebred.

TBH I'm annoyed I payed money to see it. I couldn't care less about the characters and I was never involved in the story - It was like spending two hours with a girlfriend you know you're going to dump soon.

Re: Slumdog Millionaire

Posted: Thu Mar 05, 2009 6:16 pm UTC
by podbaydoor
Watched it last night. Very enjoyable. Not exactly thought-provoking or anything, but very charming, and I liked the characters. Strangely, I liked Latika the least - she had the least developed personality and while the love story was sweet, it's pretty obvious that Jamal loved her only as an idea of a childhood sweetheart. He had no idea what she'd gone through (especially the implied sexual and emotional abuse from different men) or who she really was. Also, agreed that the strongest sections were about the kids growing up and each "episode" explaining the answer to one of the game show questions.

Great colors, interesting shots, well-done soundtrack. I'd watch it again.

Re: Slumdog Millionaire

Posted: Thu Mar 05, 2009 6:23 pm UTC
by Izawwlgood
It's been about 2 months since I've seen it, but I remember being in tears at the relationship between the brothers (Jamal and what was his name?). The earlier portion of the movie, with the experiences of the children, was the most entertaining part of the movie to me.

Re: Slumdog Millionaire

Posted: Thu Mar 05, 2009 6:38 pm UTC
by podbaydoor
Salim was the brother's name. He was a good character, but may I say that I am so glad the movie was not from his viewpoint. Would've been a bit too much Catcher in the Rye/Outsiders/teenage male angst genre for me. I did like that after he found out how betrayed Jamal had felt about being abandoned in the hotel years later, he started trying to make up for it.

Re: Slumdog Millionaire

Posted: Sun Mar 08, 2009 11:18 pm UTC
by KOSMOSX7
I think that if the story was told from Salim's POV, it would've been a very different movie. It'd certainly be a lot less sanitized, but a lot more run-of-the-mill.

podbaydoor wrote:He had no idea what she'd gone through (especially the implied sexual and emotional abuse from different men) or who she really was.


Seeing as this film is Jamal's story, it makes sense that the other characters are underdeveloped. Jamal doesn't know anything. His ignorance limits our understanding of the Indian underworld, but it also absolves the filmmakers from having a deeper approach to the problems of the society they're depicting.

And Latika is the key to everything. Instead of blaming Jamal for being clueless, I question the decision of the filmmakers to only provide us with shadows of Salim's and Latika's lives.

Re: Slumdog Millionaire

Posted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 4:43 pm UTC
by podbaydoor
Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack = ace.

Also a good way to get "Jai Ho" stuck in your head for three days straight.

Re: Slumdog Millionaire

Posted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 5:00 pm UTC
by Izawwlgood
Did you see the Oscars, when the song from Wall-E and the song from Slumdog were sung in tandem with the colorful dancers and the weeeeeeee!!!!?

Yeah, it was cool.

Re: Slumdog Millionaire

Posted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 5:44 pm UTC
by podbaydoor
That whole interlude was kind of inexplicable, but it was very colorful and kinetic, I guess? The taiko drummers were pretty out of place, and did no one think to get A.R. Rahman out of his boring Mao jacket thing and into a more performance-worthy outfit? But the songs were pretty cool.

Re: Slumdog Millionaire

Posted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 6:22 pm UTC
by zombie_monkey
Am I the only person who saw this film and doesn't remember what song people are refering to as Jai Ho?
EDIT: I youtubed it, and I recognise it from the film, but it's not very catchy at all. It's an unbelievably bad song for a film with such a good soundtrack. It actually gets on my nerves, I can't listen to the whole of it.

By the way, on topic, I was exposed to the film pretty much by accident, I watch films very rarely, and I thought it was great, but was shocked to find out it had won four golden globes and was nominated for a bajillion oscars.

Re: Slumdog Millionaire

Posted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 10:44 pm UTC
by Julien
Too many people are blaming the end of the movie.

Don't you understand ? This is to make you feel like in a Bollywood production. After a long, sad, realistic story, filmed like a documentary, the movie ends in a Bollywood style, with success, love, clichés, and stuff. It's totally made in purpose.

This choice of a vanilla ending makes the film even more "Indian", it's a gigantic pun to the Indian movie industry. It's a glimpse at the heart of Indians because that's the kind of stories they like : a sad and trashy ending fits the Westerners' tastes, not the Indians'.

I really enjoyed Slumdog Millionaire a lot. I prefered Milk thought, and I think Milk was an enormous step forward in the cinema history. But still, Slumdog Millionaire is really an impressive achievement.

Re: Slumdog Millionaire

Posted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:46 am UTC
by Spuddly
It was too much poverty tourism for me. I don't care enough about poor people to care about the movie, though. So ehhhhh, good soundtrack.

Re: Slumdog Millionaire

Posted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 8:27 am UTC
by zombie_monkey
Oh yeah, the ending couldn't have been better or any other kind, really, it's both required by the story and incredibly funny jibe at Bollywood.

Re: Slumdog Millionaire

Posted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 9:19 am UTC
by charliepanayi
I love the ending, as I've said before, it reminds me of the ending to the excellent Takeshi Kitano film Zatoichi. Song and dance number, might feel a bit incongruous, but it's great fun to watch.

Re: Slumdog Millionaire

Posted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 5:52 pm UTC
by Kizyr
zombie_monkey wrote:Oh yeah, the ending couldn't have been better or any other kind, really, it's both required by the story and incredibly funny jibe at Bollywood.

My favorite thing about the ending was how uncomfortable Dev Patel looks dancing. ...well, it may not be that he's uncomfortable, but that he's not used to dancing at all. KF

Re: Slumdog Millionaire

Posted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 12:04 pm UTC
by sje46
TrinityJ wrote:Slumdog is a great movie, and its culturally accurate. That's hard to find in Hollywood pictures.
9/10 for sure. Almost as good as the wresler....RAM JAM!
Umm, I heard a lot of criticism from it on the Internet because it isn't culturally accurate. I don't know if you are from India, but I read that it can be compared to a film starring black people, in which an inspiring basketball player from inner-city New Orleans tries to get into college but his brother was shot in a gang war and then Hurricane Katrina happens, and also he suffers a lot of racism. Apparently to Indians that's what the film is like.
invisibl wrote:I think paper planes on the train fit here much better than in pineapple express.

word squared.

Paper Planes was never in Pineapple Express, although it is in the trailer. At least, it wasn't in the cinematic version.

I liked the book better. I read it before, and it's really gripping. The movie kinda bored me. I liked Salim (in the book, Ram's (Jamal) best friend) a lot better. I liked the stories so much better as well, and also the twists.
It was a good movie too. I don't want to say that the book is always better than the movie, because there are always restrictions, you know, but the book was pretty interesting. It's called Q&A, but was also renamed Slumdog Millionaire.

Re: Slumdog Millionaire

Posted: Fri May 01, 2009 5:46 am UTC
by infernovia
India is still pretty slummy still though. Sure, its going down, but I wouldn't say the movie is inaccurate. It might be exaggerated but the locations were real. There are few movies that grasp the indian market (where he is describing pani puri) so well or the beggars in alleys. The run through as a kid, the policemen too...

That said, the movie was ok. It was good for an Indian movie to become serious and a bit more accurate was my feeling. People make me watch bollywood because its part of the culture so it felt fresh. Lacked substance however.

Re: Slumdog Millionaire

Posted: Fri May 01, 2009 9:07 pm UTC
by Kizyr
It had elements of realism in it, but at its heart it's still fiction. It drew on certain elements from the environment to add to the story. Taking it as an accurate guide on what India is like is silly, yes, but there's just as little sense in criticizing it for being "unrealistic".

When I was little and in Bangladesh, there were a bunch of stories of kids being kidnapped/mutilated and made to beg on the streets (similar to the one incident in the movie--just with blinding instead of amputation). I'm sure a lot of it was exaggerated, but in any event it's a perception that exists in South Asian culture that also works its way into the movie; it's not just something Danny Boyle pulled out of nowhere to make India look bad.

Plus, it's plenty more realistic than your average Bollywood movie. Given that context, Amitabh Bachchan's criticisms sound really out of place. KF

Re: Slumdog Millionaire

Posted: Fri May 15, 2009 1:20 pm UTC
by Jourdy289
Those kids got paid great money...

http://www.reuters.com/news/pictures/rp ... TXGOO8#a=1

H8 to rain on your parade, but a couple months ago I met Mira Nair - she came out with a film alot like this one, but more realistic - nobody wins millions of dollars... It was about street kids in Bombay. She pretty much opened the industry for this sort of film.

Also, do you think they're going to do a sequel? IDK what it would be called, but the third film, I can tell you this much: It will be based in Zimbabwe, and be called Slumhamster Trillionare.

Re: Slumdog Millionaire

Posted: Tue Sep 21, 2010 9:21 am UTC
by Nath
Necroing this because I finally rented it.

First of all, damn, that was some lazy writing. There's no real logic to the world of Slumdog Millionaire. Everything just happens because 'it is written'. Fate can be an interesting writing device when used correctly, or it can be a crutch that excuses the writer from having to make sure things make sense. India is a pretty fatalistic society, so they could have gotten something interesting out of the whole destiny thing if they hadn't overplayed it so much.

Second, the 'poverty tourism' thing. sje gets it about right:
sje46 wrote:Umm, I heard a lot of criticism from it on the Internet because it isn't culturally accurate. I don't know if you are from India, but I read that it can be compared to a film starring black people, in which an inspiring basketball player from inner-city New Orleans tries to get into college but his brother was shot in a gang war and then Hurricane Katrina happens, and also he suffers a lot of racism. Apparently to Indians that's what the film is like.

All the nasty stuff in the movie really does happen, but usually not all to one person. The plot thread that tied them all together was very contrived. Getting the police to torture a game show contestant who might have been cheating? Broke suspension of disbelief right from the start.

The movie wasn't irredeemable. Most of the performances were very good. Some of the flashback scenes were interesting, and could have been part of a much better movie if the bits between them had been better written. As is, it was like an abridged Charles Dickens novel, set in Mumbai instead of London.

None of the characters got properly fleshed out. Jamal and Salim felt like they could have been interesting characters, but all the interestingness was mostly off-screen. Latika was plot-glue. If they'd cut out the whole game show thing and focused on the people, I think there was a good story to be told about these characters.

Then there's the language issue. It's jarring to see uneducated kids in Mumbai speaking fluent English, but I can forgive that. It's a common enough thing in historical movies -- I didn't think Maximus from Gladiator was really supposed to be speaking English. Same deal here; we're presumably supposed to assume that the characters are actually speaking Hindi. But then they talk to tourists and call-center customers without even acknowledging the whole language thing. I can shrug that off in Star Trek, I guess, but I'd expect more from a movie that's supposed to be casting a hard light on real issues.

Re: Slumdog Millionaire

Posted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 3:03 am UTC
by natraj
Nath wrote:I'd expect more from a movie that's supposed to be casting a hard light on real issues.


Oh... see, being Indian myself I just totally didn't even watch the movie that way at all. I didn't think of it even slightly as supposed to be casting a hard light on real issues, I just watched it like it was a fairytale. I think if I'd watched it that way, I would've hated it, but as a fairytale I loved it.

Re: Slumdog Millionaire

Posted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 7:02 am UTC
by Nath
It didn't work for me at that level either. I expect a fairy tale to have some sort of theme or message. The only theme I got out of this movie was the whole destiny thing, and even that didn't lead to any sort of lesson, as far as I could tell. In a nutshell, the movie's plot was this: it was Jamal's destiny to have all these unpleasant things happen, but in the process he got the specific things he needed to make things turn out mostly OK in the end.

...Why? And so what? That doesn't raise any interesting philosophical questions. I don't think that's the point. The game-show and Jamal's destiny just seem like a scriptor ex machina to tie together all those unpleasant incidents from his childhood; that's why I thought they were the real point of the movie.

One other thing that bugged me was that the actual game-show didn't matter. Salim and Javed were dead. Latika was already free. Jamal was making a living. Even if he hadn't won, they could have gotten out of Mumbai and lived a normal life. The thing that actually enabled this was Salim's character development, which happened mostly off-screen and was kind of brushed under the carpet, so that we could watch an episode of Kaun Banega Crorepati instead.