Sunday, November 30, 2008

Assaultive Slumdog

Yesterday we went to see a film which has become an international sensation: Slumdog Millionaire.
One of my favorite movie rating sites, Rotten Tomatoes, gives this tale of three orphans in India a 92% favorable rating.
And our party of four that screened this film gave it a 75% favorable rating. That means that one of us didn't like it.
I plead guilty.
Slumdog is indeed a powerful tale that centers on one of the three orphans who grows up to become a champion on the India TV version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
The film is told in a serious of flashbacks and it is graphic beyond belief.
We journey through the slums of India as our protagonist is beaten, scarred, intimidated, abused, starved, orphaned and at one point even enveloped in human waste.
Danny Boyle's direction of this extraordinarily vivid tale is relentlessly assaultive. It's loud, often manipulative and ultimately overwhelming. The moments of subtlety are few and far between.
One hope to discover that the story is true or at least that it is based on a true story. That would give it some credibility.
But the whole thing is based on a novel.
Could it be true? I suppose so. Real life is always stranger than fiction, especially against the backdrop of modern-day India
Hope does eventually triumph in this tale but my, or my -- what we endure along the way!
The major performances by a young cast of Indian actors are wonderful. And the film certainly does grab and keep your attention.
Like I said, I was in the minority on this. Everyone else in our party loved this film. In fact, audience members even applauded it.
So, you may want to join in the international chorus of raves.

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