Sunday, January 25, 2009

My Thumb Way Up: Slumdog Millionaire

Starring: Dev Patel, Freida Pinto
Co-Starring: Madhur Mittal, Anil Kapoor, Irrfan Khan
Rated R for violence, language, mature themes.

I went to see Slumdog Millionaire a couple of weeks ago. It was the week I went to see three of the films that have been nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. (I still have to see Frost/Nixon and Benjamin Button, both of which I really have no desire to see.)

This is a movie that is hard to describe without giving away some of the important plot points so I'll keep my description brief. Going in, I thought it was about the Indian version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. That is merely the device used to tell the story. It's a life story, a love story, set amidst the slums of Mumbai.

What I Liked
• The setting took me away to another part of the world and gave me a slap in the face as to what it's like to have real problems.
• Seeing the realities of people in the third world gives one a better understanding about why people hate American when they see Paris Hilton who has tons of money but no talent and makes no contribution to the world.
• I've worked with folks from Mumbai and this gave me added insight into the world from which they came. I remember one friend telling me that he could tell what caste other Indians were from back home.
• The dance "video" at the end during the credits.

What I Didn't Like
• I couldn't understand some of the dialog and they could have been a bit more liberal with the subtitles. Yes, they are speaking English, but with a heavy Hindi/British accent.

It's been getting high accolades. I enjoyed it, entranced by the foreign setting and exotic characters. But I wasn't blown away. I wanted to give it some time before I wrote my review to see if it grew on me as time went on. It hasn't. It's a really good movie and one you should see while it's on the big screen. I just don't think it's "the best movie I've ever seen in my life," and for that reason, I give it "only" my thumb way up.

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