Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Orr and Jenkins on ‘Slumdog Millionaire’

posted by Nell Minow

Slumdog Millionaire” is a Dickensian story of orphans in India. The movie is not for everyone. It combines the most harrowing abuse, betrayal, and tragedy with a piercingly romantic fairy tale. It is the story of a young man who is accused of cheating when he wins “Who Wants to Be a Millionare?” because he has no education and lives in the slums. In flashbacks that reveal his whole life to that point we learn how he knew the answer to each question. The movie has one of the most transcendently romantic moments of the year and concludes with a rousing dance number under the closing credits.

Mark Jenkins has an illuminating interview with director Danny Boyle (“Trainspotting,” “28 Days Later,” “Millions”), putting this film in the context of favored Boyle themes like sudden riches and the guerrilla filming style in the streets of Mumbai (Bombay).

Jenkins: How difficult was it to shoot in Bombay’s slums?

Boyle: The slums are great! You have to contact the right people to go in there, but once we were there and got to know the people, they’re extraordinary. They’re so resourceful, considering how little they’re given by the state. There’s no toilets, there’s no running water, no electricity. It looks filthy and disgusting, and it is around the edges, but you go in the homes and they’re absolutely spotless.

I think the energy of the film is a tribute to the slums. Everybody imagines people just hanging around, sleeping in the sun and not working. They’re incredibly industrious! Working in these cottage industries, and trading. That’s why they don’t want to move out of these places. Because the land is so valuable now, the municipal councils want to move them out to these tower blocks they built in New Mumbai. But they don’t want to go there. They do forcibly move them, but the people come back. They want to live amongst their own kind. Because what they get from their own kind more than compensates for the bricks and mortar that’s on offer out there. To be in the hub of the city, the maximum city, is priceless.

And Chris Orr’s superb review of the film appears in “The New Republic.”

Working from a script by Simon Beaufoy (“The Full Monty”), Boyle stages every scene with verve and brio, confidently flashing forward and back from Jamal’s boyhood to his quiz-show appearance to his mid-game interrogation by a police inspector (Irrfan Khan) who suspects him of cheating. Throughout it all, cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle’s camera bounces giddily through the tin-roofed shanties of Mumbai, while Indian superstar A.R. Rahman’s soundtrack throbs seductively. Not since Fernando Mireille’s “City of God” has a film about poverty and violence been told with such extraordinary panache.



  • anonymous

    Slumdog Millionaire is as acerbic as it is clear-eyed about the brutal power dynamics in modern-day Mumbai. But, at the same time, what makes it so warming and what has been inspiring audiences all across the world to cheer at its rousing ending.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed the film.

Previous Posts

Tusk
You can make a good movie about slackers, for example "Slackers," from Richard Linklater and "Clerks" from Kevin Smith. But you can't make a good movie by a slacker, and Smith does not seem wi

posted 5:59:40pm Sep. 18, 2014 | read full post »

This is Where I Leave You
A toddler carries his little potty out in front of the house so he can try out his new-found skill in public. Twice. Plus another time when the contents of the potty are first displayed for the

posted 5:59:39pm Sep. 18, 2014 | read full post »

The Maze Runner
Yes, it's another dystopic YA trilogy (actually, there's a fourth volume, a prequel), and yes, only a teenager with fabulous cheekbones can save the day. But "The Maze Runner" is not a lesser repeat. It is a worthy addition to the genre, an absorbing drama with surprising turns and even more surpris

posted 5:59:23pm Sep. 18, 2014 | read full post »

The Art of John Alvin -- Designer of Iconic Movie Posters
Any fan of film history and design will love this magnificent new book devoted to the iconic movie posters and other artwork from John Alvin, assembled and written by his widow, Andrea Alv

posted 8:00:05am Sep. 18, 2014 | read full post »

Guest Post: Tara Sonenshine on "Calvary"
My deepest thanks to Tara Sonenshine for allowing me to publish her thoughtful comments on "Calvary," starring Brendan Gleeson as a troubled priest in a small Irish t

posted 11:19:17pm Sep. 17, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.