Wednesday, December 17, 2008

From Rags to Riches

Danny Boyle’s exciting Slumdog Millionaire not only is the biggest small film of the year, it is one of the best.

It tells the unbelievable story of Jamal Malik (Dev Patel), an 18 year-old orphan from the slums of Mumbai, who is experiencing the biggest day of his life as a Who Wants to be a Millionaire contestant.

And it’s quite simply Boyle’s most daring masterpiece.

I wish I could stop right there and not pretend to give you more details about Slumdog Millionaire, so you can discover it on your own, but I’ve only told you half the story.

With the entire country watching and rooting for him, Jamal is a question away from winning – gulp! – 20 million rupees.

Through a series of intriguing flashbacks, some funny, most poignant, chronicling his and his older brother’s hard-knocks life we learn how he’s made it this far.

And then the show breaks for the night.

The police pick him up to investigate an allegation of cheating, because how else could he know any of the answers, after all – he’s a street urchin.

Desperate to prove his innocence, Jamal tells the story of his life in the slum where he and his brother grew up, of their adventures together on the road, of vicious encounters with local gangs, and of Latika (the breathtakingly beautiful Freida Pinto), the girl he loved and lost.

Each chapter of his story reveals the key to the answer to one of the show’s questions.

Puzzled by Jamal’s story, the cynical police inspector begins to wonder why a young man with no apparent desire for riches is really doing on the show (and enduring his people’s torture so dignifiedly).

You’re going to have to find out the loverly reason – wink, wink – by watching Slumdog Millionaire. You’ll exhilarated you did, trust.

My Rating ****


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