Movie Review: Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

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


  1. The whole film feels like it’s about something interesting that happened to a very uninteresting person… kaya siguro ang title eh. the curious case Benjamin Button. peace tayo dimen

    May part sa movie na kulang and i dunno kung ano yun, i think its part of the story, you tend to find more about the character and yet you’ll be left with a “that’s it?” at the end of the movie… hehe

    • i understand that the character HAS to be distant and passive. But again, yun yung problema, it HAS to be like that. ANd for that, it somehow kept the audience, at least me, at a certain distance. 🙂

  2. Have not seen the 2 other films… but i’m still rooting for Slumdog… Probly my favorite film in the last few years!!! I’m not really a fan of Brad Pitt’s films, I think the only film of his that I really liked is Fight Club.

  3. yung benjamin pa lang napapanood ko……

    yung slumdog, i’ll try to watch it. thanks for the awesome review!

    ps: blogroll link exchange? ^^

  4. yung benjamin button pa din lang napapanuod ko.
    pag maluwag sched, i’ll try to watch doubt. eheheh
    lapit na ang oscars. at as usual madaming snubs. hheheh.

    ingats palagi=p

  5. I haven’t watched any of these movies, but of the three, I think the movie that will make me watch the least is Benjamin Button. It just greatly differs from the book. I know it’s just an adaptation of the book and comparing an adaptation to the original literature is but a no-no but it just greatly differs.

    In the movie, Benjamin was born a baby but looked old. Then he grew but his genetic characteristics grew younger. In the book, he was born a grown up man with the exact characteristics of one. He looked old and he talked and thought well. And he grew backwards. Everything. His thinking, his DNA’s genetic material, everything. And for me it’s a big change for something that has been adapted from another.

    But I don’t really know. I’m not a Film grad. It’s just me – my thoughts. 🙂

    • it’s actually a short story. and yeah, you shouldnt compare. hehe. 😛

      The only thing they got from the original story was the idea of aging backwards so there’s NOTHING to compare really.

  6. I love Cate Blanchett and Meryl Streep by the way! 😀 I loved how they portrayed Elizabeth in Elizabeth: The Golden Age and Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada, respectively. Those are two of my favorite movies ever. 😀

  7. “button” pa lang napapanood ko kaya hindi ko alam ang verdict..hehe! but i was a great movie in my opinion. reminded me of forrest gump.

    • I didnt even like Forrest Gump. hehehehe

      but I liked Button, as I said. It’s just that I think the character is cold. But ultimately, it’s a good movie. 😛

  8. i agree with yoshke. i have just watched the movie, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and it is true Benjamin is distant. Though his love for Daisy is admirable, i find it hard to believe that he seems to focus more on his “abnormality” or sickness than being with the person who he cherishes most, like his daughter. (I still can’t believe he left her! Probably because he’s aging backwards…hehe!) Though the romance was great, Cate Blanchett was a beauty It was a good movie. I watched it alone though. No one came with me.

  9. i was surprised by slumdog myself. never thot it could be that riveting. i liked how the movie was able to present a very serious and heavy topic – poverty and deprivation – in a light and comical way, something that pinoy filmmakers are apparently not accustomed to (here, we present poverty at its most gruesome, and then the viewers leave the cinemas feeling a lot worse than they entered the cinemas. tsk tsk!).

    the curious case of benjamin button, as i’ve mentioned in my previous blog post, is just a recycled forrest gump. and yes, you have to suspend your disbelief to appreciate it. heck, i don’t think brad and cate even have the screen chemistry. lol!

    as for doubt, haven’t seen it yet. so i can’t comment. and again, just my two-cents’-worth. all personal opinions. not really a technical film junkie like you. hakhak!

  10. amy adams! im excited to see her in Doubt. it really seems to be a talkie movie. but im much thrilled with meryl’s glances and stares and squishy type of talking.

  11. I gotta agree with ya on Slumdog. I was drawn into the movie and enjoyed it alot. I havn’t seen Benjamin Button though, but I’ve seen Doubt. I gotta agree that Doubt did leave me thinking and wondering what really happened at the end. Oh well. And it’s funny how you mentioned “Yet you are satisfied.” That was true for me. Finally a movie critic with some real feedback. 😛 And the guy in Slumdog was yummy. 😀

  12. bah, slumdog. couldn’t get past the gimmick. same with button. So far, among the contenders, I’m loving The Reader and Revolutionary Road. But I still have to watch Changeling, Doubt, Frost/Nixon and Rachel Getting Married. Not to mention Synecdoche New York. aaaah.

  13. I watched all best picture contenders but Frost/Nixon. Don’t even know if I will bother watching it. Anyway, I loved Slumdog, Doubt and Revolutionary Road.

    Slumdog was a slam! I thought I was watching City of God the entire time. But you were right, it was City of God but a lot happier.

    Doubt was really good too. All the talking paid off. I especially loved Viola Davis who apparently appeared for only 11 minutes but managed to deliver a great and a “well-deserved-award-recognition” performance.

    Revolutionary Road’s simplicity was the key to its success. Its simplicity makes you actually dig much much deeper into everything – plot, characters, etc. The actors’ performances were just amazingly superb.

  14. Slumdog Millionaire would most likely win as Best Picture. I agree with what your screenwriter mentor said, “all stories have been told, it’s HOW you tell the story”.

    I just hope it will be shown here in Manila. I’m sure Pinoys will love this film.

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