Starring: Dev Patel, Anil Kapoor, Freida Pinto
Directed by: Danny Boyle (“Sunshine”)
Written by: Simon Beaufoy (“The Full Monty”)
Deep from the slums of Mumbai, India, “Slumdog Millionaire” is a captivating story about life, love and predestination told in one of the most unique narratives of the year.
The film follows Jamal Malik (Dev Patel), a poor orphan who has found himself only one question away from winning the grand prize of $20 million rupees on the Hindi version of the TV show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.”
Jamal, however, is not participating in the game show to win money. He is there for a more important reason – true love. Jamal believes that the longer he manages to stay on the show, the more likely his long-lost love Latika (Freida Pinto) will see him.
But growing up in the slums with no education isn’t going to help Jamal answer the questions posed to him during the competition. Instead, he relies on fate to guide him through each query. The better Jamal does during the show, the more skeptical a police inspector (Irfan Khan) becomes. “What the hell can a slumdog possibly know?” he asks when they begin to interrogate Jamal and attempt to get him to confess to somehow cheating on the show.
But there is an inexplicable power helping Jamal through his quest to find Latika. As we watch him sit across from the show’s host Prem Kumar (Anil Kapoor) answering questions, we begin to understand the profoundness of the event happening before our eyes through beautifully detailed flashbacks of Jamal and his brother Salim raising themselves after their mother is killed.
Each question Jamal is asked transports us to meaningful and sometimes tragic times in his life that he can’t shake from his mind. With those deep-seated memories, Jamal is hopeful fate will continue direct him until he is able to find the girl he has always loved.
British filmmaker Danny Boyle has created a powerful story about destiny and the ability of the human heart to continue to love despite life’s hardships. Shooting on location in Mumbai, Boyle encapsulates the ambiance and energy of the city through sweeping cinematography and one of the most stimulating soundtracks this year. Boyle has proven in the past that he can take on any type of genre (“28 Days Later,” “Sunshine”), and do it with enthusiasm. In “Millioniare,” the project at times seems bigger than the the players but Boyle is able to take control of all its components and deliver an authentic piece of filmmaking full of exhilaration.