Movie Review: Slumdog Millionaire by Heloise
Mumbai, India is the setting for this brutal look at slum life in a southern Indian city. It follows the life of three slum dwellers, called slum dogs by the film’s writer, who said he “just made up slumdog.” Ouch!
Well, the natives are a bit restless about the dog part. However, here in America, dog can be a friendly word, but when you are poor, black and the underdog being reminded of it well, hurts. I’ve been to India and traveled by plane, and by taxi from the city of New Delhi to its northern Punjab region. This region is not nearly as bad as the south but just the same you see people living virtually EVERYWHERE in India.
And what distinguishes India even more than having to step over people sleeping in parking lots in the train station and living on the train tracks is the veritble smell of India. It is the smell of burning that distinguishes her.
The hero and heroine of Slumdog have lots of adventures that take them from the beauty of the Taj Mahal to an orphanage that uses and abuses the kids. Here’s where it got ugly. The violence and torture in the movie rate it a strong caution. It is not a kid’s movie even though kids are portrayed in the film.
Its star works his way up to an office job in an offshore calling center where he takes the chance to become a contestant on “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?” Indian style. It looks like the American version only the questions are very different and as the host says, even scholars have not made it up to the highest levels.
They are suspicious that he has cheated and the police are called in and carry him off for interrogation. The interrogator is the dad from “The Namesake.” He must question young slumdog to get to the bottom.
This is how the story is told in flashbacks that last for long stretches of the film. The end is fabulous. Don’t leave too early or you will miss one of the best music videos ever. It reminds me of the old days back in the 1970s when my ex husband first took me to screenings of Indian films on the north side of Chicago. I’ve always loved Indian films and this one is no exception.
Don’t miss Slumdog Millionaire. Will it win best picture of the year? I predict it will. I’ve seen its biggest competition “Curious Case…” and slumdog will win hands down.