Friday, 26 December 2008

Slumdog Millionaire - Dir. Danny Boyle

“If you get the answer wrong Jamal, you lose everything.”

Danny Boyle is back behind the camera with a change of scenery and a story of one slumdog's rise from nothing to something in the blink of an eye on the Hindi version of 'Who Wants To Be Millionaire'. Nobody believes what is happening, not the presenter, nor the police, however as Jamal Malik continues to defy convention by getting question after question right, we are not only watching a potential millionaire in the works, but are also thrown into the distant journey of his past. With one question separating Jamal from an astounding 20 million rupees, one question remains; why is Jamal really on the show?

‘Slumdog Millionaire’ is a story of love, life, family, poverty and ultimately one man’s rise from the foundations of dirt to the creation of gold through life itself. In a world where wealth can be won in an instant, it is only those who strive for the inspiration and delve into their own determined mind that can achieve this, which Jamal is, an underdog. And we all know how much we love to connect-to and adopt an underdog no matter whom, why or where he or she is.

From the first scenes where we see Jamal being tortured in the Police Station as he is held in the same contempt as a common thief to the final suspense fuelled moment, Danny Boyle manages to tug on every heart string available to viewer all at a swift pace. From heart-warming entertaining scenes, such as when Jamal and his brother Salim pretend to be Taj Mahal tour guides to the foreign tourists, we are juggernauted and catapulted into the emotional opposite with Jamal constantly fighting the demons keeping him apart from the only girl that brings to a smile away. It is this constant emotional battle that keeps our eyes open and our mind ticking. Why? Because we simply want to know how Jamal got there and where he is now headed.

Danny Boyle is almost flawless in his melodramatic direction of ‘Slumdog’; he allows the film to build without ever dragging out a section of the film to the point where you wish Jamal would stop ‘reminiscing’. However I mustn’t overlook the other technical and stylistic aspects which allowed this film to flourish, most importantly Anthony Mandle’s beautiful cinematography of the various contrasting lands of India and Chris Dickens smoothly worked editing guarantee that the brilliantly written script from Simon Beaufoy flows effortlessly into creating a wonderful modern fairytale that will by the end make you laugh, smile or cry, or all three.

When I first heard Danny Boyle, the director of Trainspotting, 28 Days Later and Sunshine among others, was attached to direct a Romantic Drama set within the deep confines of Indian culture and society, I laughed. However it’s Boyle who is having the last laugh, as he has created a chilling, yet warm, frightening, yet uplifting film that touches upon pretty much every human emotional response available, but will definitely leave you exiting the cinema with one feeling fresh in your mind and your gut; that you have seen something special.
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