Overview: Slumdog Millionaire, directed by Danny Boyle, recalls the life story of Jamal Malik, a poor youth from the slums of Mumbai, as he nears winning a million dollars on the Indian version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”. Fox Searchlight Pictures/Warner Bros. 2008. Rated R. 120 Minutes.
The Rich: Most of Slumdog Millionaire is structured through three layers of narrative: A police interrogation, a million dollar quiz show, and the flashback scenes that are triggered by the two different lines of questioning. Flashback scenes are marked with a vibrant and expressive technique that makes them seem like fairytales. The narrative beings to supplement that feeling, as, to viewers, Jamal, and all of the characters in the film, these stories unfold like third world fairytales. Some instances of motion blur are used in transitions from past and present, which gives viewers a feeling that they are occupying the dream with Jamal as he recalls key moments in his past.
The Upper Middle Class: The editing and score are exceptional. The editing balances the current events and flashbacks gracefully, and viewers are always aware of their current spot within Jamal’s life and the story’s chronology. A pounding, upbeat score hammers home the triumph of Jamal’s journey through the poverty, hardship, and adversity he faced to get to the fateful climactic instant.
The Middle Class: The film features respectable performances from the child actors playing young Jamal, his brother Salim, and friend Latika. Dev Patel, Madhur Mittal, and Irrfan Khan also give sound performances as older Jamal, older Salim, and a police inspector, respectively.
Consistent: This film maintains a steady quality throughout and does not commit any egregious errors or have noticeable flaws. The film won eight Oscars in 2009 for Best Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Sound Mixing, Film Editing, Original Score, Original Song, Best Director, and Best Picture.
Final Thoughts: Slumdog Millionaire is a consistent and quality film, providing a feel-good and triumphant story of the human spirit.