Genre: Comedy; Director: Danny Boyle
Stars: Dev Patel, Anil Kapoor, Freida Pinto
After watching the film, I felt disappointed. I wasn’t expecting myself to like it. But I DID. Tremendously. Haha. And this might be the first time that I’m rooting for an Oscar frontrunner. (Two years ago, I liked Little Miss Sunshine better than The Departed; Crash than Brokeback Mountain; Munich than Brokeback Mountain; The Hours than Chicago.) But then again I haven’t seen The Reader yet. But so far, Slumdog gets all my loving.
People say that there’s nothing new to the story. It’s the same old third-world rags-to-riches plot. But like my Screenwriter mentor said, all stories have been told, it’s HOW you tell the story. Although I’m not sure I agree to that, it certainly applies to Slumdog. What’s amazing about it is how the story is told — how it used an old game show as a vehicle of a usual plot and a foreign setting and culture to make it look brand new. But the truth is, most of the time I don’t care if the story is fresh. What matters to me is if it’s yummy and spicy. And boy is it yummy and spicy.
One awesome thing that I especially liked about this movie is how the setting, Mumbai, seems to have a life of its own. It’s like one well-developed character, reminiscent of City of God, only happy. It changes and grows with the characters. And I sympathized with it. Mumbai is more alive and active than Benjamin Button (haha).
Slumdog Millionaire, although revolving around the many not-so-pretty things about life, is brimming with optimism. It takes us to a life-long journey of a man, who proves that despite life’s infinite hardships — that vicious cycle of overcoming obstacles and then life making some more — there’s always something or someone that can give us that reason to move forward. It narrates his desperate struggles to find it. And to hell with everyone, he will find it.
It’s hard to believe that this is from the same director who bought us 28 Days Later, Trainspotting and Sunshine. But whatever, he managed to incorporate excellent screenplay, editing, cinematography and music and come up with something uplifting.
And oh, I think it’s just about time for an Oscar Best Picture that does not leave us depressed and suicidal, taking a dose of life’s bitter pills, and wanting to kill ourselves to get out of misery. It doesn’t hurt to feel good. 5.0