When I saw that we would be watching Slumdog Millionaire I was initially excited. I’ve heard the great reviews for years, I can name several friends who adore the movie, and I’ve come to know bits of the soundtrack, but I had never actually seen it. Now that I have, and can honestly say that while I see the draw it was a bit of a let down. I’m going to unapologetically lay the brunt of the blame on my friends for overhyping it, and give a lesser amount of blame to myself for being a snob and instinctively shying away from films that ‘everyone’ likes. Also I just really enjoy the previous films so I’m biased.
Regardless, it was a good film. I see the attraction to the characters, except for the police inspector, he will forever be the guy from the new Jurassic Park movie who flew a helicopter into the pterodactyl cage, but i digress. And as with all the previous films the music is extremely telling and energizing for the audience.The portrayal of the lowest classes was incredibly striking to me. From when we first see the wide shot of Jamal’s city, to moments later when we see his commitment to braving their deplorable social and environmental conditions to see a personal hero, the audience can tell this movie is not one to brush the lower class under the rug. I did enjoy the turmoil between Jamal and his brother and how it flowed continuously throughout the movie. Perhaps this conflict was just the most believable to me, especially when compared to being tortured for assumed game show fraud.
I greatly enjoyed the progression of the plot, and how it was done so in necessary flashbacks. These flashbacks were not used in a familiar way to explain the character, like in Bhumika, but rather they are used by a protagonist to explain himself and his life to an antagonist. I found that incredibly clever. Unfortunately Jamal’s tendency to simultaneously be in the wrong place at the wrong time and still always manage to scrape out of dire situations and come out on top seemed wildly unbelievable. The police officer’s belief of Jamal’s stories is shocking to me as well. I love a good underdog story but, come on, what did winning the gameshow prove other than luck?
Over all it was a good movie, and I will most likely watch it again and come to enjoy it more. But for now I just feel silly for being surprised that in a movie with a title like “Slumdog Millionaire” an underdog find extreme luck in life and dodges every bullet to end up on top with the beautiful unobtainable girl.