Saturday, January 3, 2009

Movie Review: Slumdog Millionaire

Perhaps I should build up to this statement, but this is my favorite movie of the year. I feel like a plot summary is in order since a lot of people have never even heard of this movie, including the majority of the people I went to the movie with. The film centers around Jamal, a "slumdog" (which translates roughly for us in the States to "street kid"), who has landed a seat on the game show "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire" and is one correct answer away from being the first to go all the way and answer every question correctly. Being that Jamal has almost no formal education, he is tortured and interrogated by Indian police who suspect him of cheating. Through the interrogation we learn the story of Jamal, his brother Samir, and their friend (and Jamal's love interest) Latika, as Jamal explains through life experiences how he came to know the answers. The movie succeeds in not only its unique storytelling, but also because of the cinematography, and the way director Danny Boyle uses Mumbai, India as one of the supporting actors. This is the first hit movie from my memory that was centered in India, and I really hope to see more films from the area because it was really incredible. I know this is a hack line, but this is really a film that can make you laugh and make you cry. What's so amazing about the movie is that, in its essence it is a traditional Hollywood melodrama/love story, but the creative storytelling, the impressive acting performances, and awe-worthy cinematography make this a must-see. 5 out of 5 stars. Go see this movie while it's still out in theaters, and if I can I'd like to recommend the AFI in Silver Spring, it really is a great movie theater and I haven't had a single bad experience there.

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