I finally saw the movie “Slumdog Millionaire,” and it was beautiful beyond belief. It took me awhile, because I was terrified to see it. It received such a ridiculous level of hype, I was afraid that it would crumble under the weight of my lofty expectations.
I shouldn’t have worried. After the first ten minutes, I was totally, bug-eyed hooked. The story is amazing, the visuals are brilliant and the cast is pitch perfect. These factors are usually indicators of high-quality, but when combined with the talent and vision of film-maker Danny Boyle they produce nothing short of film excellence. At the end of the movie, I couldn’t shake the word beautiful from my psyche. The brilliant part is that while the overall movie is beautiful the events within are painfully ugly. To create such beauty from so much tragedy is a herculean achievement.
The story centers on Jamal, his older brother Salim and the ever, sweet Latika. The movie is told through the eyes of Jamal (Dev Patel) as he explains to police why a common slumdog is able to excel on the gameshow “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” This approach uses a “show, don’t tell” method of story telling that is both informative and emotionally effective (this is how you do it right, you people at “The Philanthropist). Jamal’s life stories intertwine with the gameshow in such a wonderful way, it’s easy to look past the unbelievable coincidence of these particular questions.
When a young Jamal (Ayush Mahesh Khedekar) jumps through the outhouse floor, in order to get a beloved autograph, he becomes the soul of the movie. When a young Salim (Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail) quickly sells that autograph, the relationship between the brothers is cemented.
Salim is a selfish bastard, but is always there for his little brother when it really counts.
If Jamal is the soul of the movie, the relationship between Jamal and Latika is the heart. Their relationship is formed under harsh circumstances that become incrementally more brutal as the years go by. They’re beat down and nearly broken, but they never forget each other.
Bottom line: Must see movie. Have tissues handy.