It took a few attempts of typing the title before I got it right, because I kept typing “Slum-dunder Mifflin-aire” since I watch too much of The Office. I also kept confusing Rampaige when I said what we were watching, and was really confused to see a movie about people in India, rather than that one episode of The Office. This film continues the trend of movies I wasn’t really all that excited to see, yet based on recommendations and reviews, felt obligated to watch it. Especially the fact that I have claimed numerous times that Danny Boyle is one of my favorite directors, and this is the movie that he won an Oscar for, I was a little embarrassed to admit having never seen it. That’s the best reason to do things, right? Out of a sense of obligation, rather than out of enjoyment? I am off to a good start!
This little kid was pooping in this scene. I’m serious, this kid was actually pooping. And I could smell it through the TV.
In the opening scenes of the movie, we see Jamal, played by Dev Patel, being interrogated and tortured by people who seem to be police. They believe that he has cheated on the Indian version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? and are trying to figure out how he did it. Jamal continues to deny he has done anything wrong, and after the physical torture, is given the opportunity to explain how he knew all the answers, which didn’t seem plausible considering he spent most of his life in the slums, hence the insult “slumdog”. While explaining how he knew the answers to the 20 questions asked of him, it ends up being a convenient, and strangely chronological, story of his life. Removing all of the segments involving the game show itself, we learn that Jamal grew up poor and both he and his slightly older brother witnessed their mother being killed before them. The two are taken in by an “orphanage”, which is some asshole using kids to beg for money, going so far as to burn out their eyes, knowing they will get more money. His older brother helps the two escape, but not after Jamal falls for another girl at the orphanage named Latika. The two brothers spend their lives scamming and swindling their way through lives, doing whatever it takes to survive. After a few years, Jamal wants to find Latika again, and tracks her down, as well as watches his brother kill the man who used force them to beg. His brother gets power crazy and kicks Jamal out, and after a few years finds a job at a call center. After an opportunity to use their database, finds his brother, who works for a mob boss, finds Latika, who is married to the mob boss, and encounters them both. Latika leaves the mob boss, with the courage given to her by the older brother, who kills the mob boss before getting killed himself, and Jamal ends up winning the ultimate prize, and is back together with Latika. Then everyone breaks out into a big choreographed dance routine.
You got the girl! You got the money! Too bad you still live in fucking India!
I couldn’t give less of a shit about the plot of this movie, which I already had an idea of before watching. Knowing that the plot wasn’t really my thing, I rolled the dice and watched it anyway. Even after watching it, I didn’t really give a shit, but I was entertained at least. Danny Boyle certainly has the technical skill as well as style when it comes to directing, no matter what the subject matter is. Whether it be a movie about heroin addicts, a plan to blow up a bomb in the Sun, a guy stuck under or rock, or Slumdog, his filmmaking is extremely enjoyable. The dialogue and acting were good, and the ways in which the answers related to his past were a fun little quirk, but everything got much too serious. For example, he knew the name of a popular actor because he was a fan of him as a kid and got his autograph, yet everything after that had to do with death and torture. I might have enjoyed those bringbacks a little bit more had they not always been referenced with lots of doom and gloom. That ties into the fact that we had to see so many questions, and each one had a 5-10 minute segment explaining the answer, resulting in me being quite bored at times. I think that had they sporadically used a less intense explanation of the answer, it would have made the time go by more quickly. Other than that, still quite a good movie.
Wolfman Moon Scale