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[Review] Slumdog Millionaire

“Slumdog Millionaire” is an excellent film that is fresh in plot and actors and smoothly combines elements of humor and drama to create a diverse well written film.

By: Hollis Kitchin

Jamal Malik, played by Dev Patel, a new face to the big screen, an 18-year-old orphan raised in the slums of Mumbai, India has suddenly become the most talked about person due to his sudden success on the Indian version of the television game show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.” What is the problem? How can a “slumdog” know all the answers to the questions on the show that doctors, lawyers and very well educated men can not answer?

The film is based on the novel “Q & A” by Vikas Swarup and directed by Danny Boyle, who applied his usual style of casting new, unknown actors. Boyle successfully shows the moral and social extremes of India, along with the discrimination of class status and religion.

Jamal is brought into a police station and is consequentially tortured to see if he is cheating. From this torture and the questioning that follows, unravels the story of how Jamal knows all the answers and his life.

Working at a telemarketing call station, Jamal serves tea to those who actually make the calls. The low job position that he has in the work force does not help his case. The policemen interrogate Jamal, asking how he knows each question, one-by-one.

Every response by Jamal reveals a new event in his life, and how it relates to each question asked in the game show. Some reasons have a humorous story behind it, while others are much more shocking and horrifying.

The death of his mother, caused by religious hatred against the Muslims, resulted in Jamal's knowledge about the God Rama of the Hindu religion. The same day allowed the meeting of Latika, played by newbie Frieda Pinto, a girl of the same age as Jamal, who is in and out of his life from the day of his mother's death to the time he is on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.”

The stories behind each answer reveal the two separate paths that he and his brother, Salim, played by Madhur Mittal, take in life. The way of honest work versus the path towards the gangster lords of the slums, which causes pain in the lives of many.

The bright colors of Indian dress and the conflicts of family and love within the story resemble the Bollywood style of storyline. Although the film takes place and is filmed in Mumbai, a Bollywood film it is not, no musical numbers in this film and no singing by the actors or playback singers.

“Slumdog Millionaire” is an excellent film that is fresh in plot and actors and smoothly combines elements of humor and drama to create a diverse well written film.
 
 

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