Friday, January 30, 2009

TB&TB Movie Review: Slumdog Millionaire

As promised, here's my final movie review ("The Wrestler", "Gran Torino") until I see another movie that makes me leave the theater actually thinking "wow, that was a good movie." (I have to include that because I saw, "Paul Bart: Mall Cop" the other day. Entertaining? Yes. Good movie? No.) For your consideration, "Slumdog Millionaire".

Now, whenever a movie gets raves review by everyone and their grandmother, I usually roll my eyes and refuse to believe the hype. Nothing ever lives up to the hype, and I usually have to piss all over the flames anyway. Multiply that by about a thousand because this movie has to deal with my people and that meant that all the reviews that I got are that much more over hyped. It had gotten to the point where I didn't even want to see it.

I decided I'd hide my reason for seeing the movie and see it on a date. That's right, folks. I went on a date. With a girl. That wasn't setup by someone else, or a lost bet on her part.

Anyway, believe the hype because this movie lived up to it.

Maybe it is the India homerism on my part, but I loved every second of the movie. Normally, I hate love stories, and that's all it really is. Yes, there are more than a few plot holes and the love story is Bollywood levels of corny. But, I think the way the story is told is something that I've never really seen before.

The basic story is a poor kid from the slums (get it?) of Mumbai gets on the Indian version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" He is able to answer questions that no one else has been able to answer, so the show thinks he's cheating. Because of that, he's taken into "custody" by the police and is questioned. They sit and watch the tape of the show, and each question he answers has a back story that deals with some aspect of his life.

And that's the cool part of it. The story of this kid's life (and his love interest, and the slums of Bombay, etc.) are all told within the context of him knowing the answers to questions on a quiz show. That's it. In a nutshell, that's the movie.

If you can't understand English with the Indian accent or Hindi (the subtitles are not correct all the time), then you might get lost because the movie is very fast paced and cuts back and forth in time without telling you. For this reason, people might just give up and say the movie sucks. However, if you take the time to pay attention to what's happening and how the story is playing off itself, then you'll really enjoy the movie for what it is, and find out that it's able to stand on its own without the hype behind it.

I believe this is going to be a lot like "No Country for Old Men". People who saw it before the awards season are going to love it, and the people who see it afterward are going to be so beaten down by it, that they'll like it, but not give it full credit. I recommend seeing it for what it is, and not for the award hype machine it's become.

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