Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Slumdog Millionaire</strong> (2008)

(In theaters, February 2009) For a feel-good movie about getting the money, the girl and the dream, this film will make you feel bad for quite a while. It’s hard to do otherwise, though, when picking characters out of the most unbelievably poor slums of Mumbai. The conceit that drives the tale (quiz-show questions alluding to the character’s life, as shown in flashbacks) is nothing short of clever, and the most interesting thing about the film may be how deftly it starts weaving through three time-lines, building a story out of snippets. As a look at contemporary India, it’s as depressing as it’s exhilarating, reflecting the real-life disparities to be found there at the moment. This being said, the payoff is long in coming, and the film’s self-assurance in building its premise isn’t always carried through in the lengthy over-explained segments that make up the bulk of the film’s content. Fortunately, the three set of lead actors are charming, and it all builds up to a great finale. In some ways, it’s old-fashioned film-making married to hip contemporary global awareness, and that’s got a lot going for it; no wonder the film did well on the Oscars nomination roll.

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