Sunday, January 11, 2009

Turk Theater Presents – Slumdog Millionaire

This will be the only time I ask people to refrain from reading anything on this site. But, stop reading. Stop. Right now. Get in your car. Call a friend and get a ride. Baring that, run. Run to your nearest theater. Dig out that Student ID from the dark recesses of whatever pocket/cabinet/wherever it is that you stashed it and cough up the $7.50 - $10 of hard-earned wallet lettuce for today’s silver screen stimulant. I wish, Gentle Reader, for you to experience this movie just as I had last night - with no preconceived notions or expectations. Believe you me when I say you will have no regrets.

… still here? Fine. You don’t believe me. That’s ok. I’d be skeptical too. Allow me, Gentle Reader, to detail you a little description. I’ll try to give as little spoilers as possible. But, for the spoiler-sensitive (and everyone else for that matter), I advise you, yet again, to stop reading now and go watch Slumdog Millionaire yourself.

Set in Mumbai, India, finalist Jamal Malik has a chance to win 20 million rps on India’s “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” – a thriving game show mirroring America’s own. During a break between shows, Jamal undergoes a ruthless interrogation by the Mumbai Police for accusations of cheating and fraud. Through out the inquisition, the Police review the show’s questions one by one while Jamal attempts to explain how he knew the answers. Each question holds a detail that represents a significant moment in Jamal’s life, depicting his life in the slums and on the road, run-ins with the local crime lords, and the possible permanent loss of the love of his life. Uplifting and sympathetic, Jamal’s is a hero’s story of endurance in the face of brutal, sometimes shocking, violence.

Additionally, the film is simply designed very well. Slumdog uses gritty, mockumentary-style camera view conjoined with sound effects made not only to sound more realistic, but to dissociate the viewer from the safety and comfort found in typical movie sounds. Not to mention the soundtrack, which is stellar and captures the mood of each scene perfectly. Those bored with the typical white-wash that is present day American cinema will be delighted to know that the cast is nearly all Indian and completely devoid of the Caucasian persuasion. The movie is primarily in English, but a substantial amount is not and the parts that aren’t employ a fantastic form of subtitles that will make you wonder, “Why don’t other movies do that!?”

The film isn’t perfect - some may complain the camera style to be “too gritty” for this age of High Definition (I disagree. But hey, who am I?) and that the general premise to be a little unbelievable. Certainly, though, you’ll find that the story and performances allow forgiveness in either department.

Be sure to stay for the credits for a little Easter Egg in the most fantastic (and stereotypical) fashion. And, to my surprise, the film was directed by Danny Boyle (see Trainspotting, 28 Days Later) who, at this point, has convinced me he can both shit gold bricks and piss diamond dust.

The bottom line, people who kept reading, is call your friends. Get this movie seen. In a sea of films filled with “lovable yet conniving” canines, pseudo-vampires, and the Jonas Brothers (seriously), Slumdog Millionaire represents a diamond’s glimmer amongst the sludge for legitimate, respectable filmmaking.

PS – Saw a preview for “The Wrestler”. That’s gonna be awesome.


Daniel said...

I saw this movie the other night and really enjoyed it, particularly the part during the credits. It's tough and honest, and often pretty hard to watch, but on the whole very well done. It has a driving intensity to it that really holds your attention.

But I'd have to say I preferred The Wrestler, and as long as we're talking about recently released films, Milk as well. Just my opinion, not to take away. Slumdog is really worth seeing as well.

Ozkirbas said...

Fair enough, sir. I've only seen a preview for the Wrestler and can tell it's well worth seeing. But, I've heard nothing of "Milk". I'll definitely be putting those on my list

Stephen said...

Great movie.

I loved how the host of the game show emphasized the -ee in the word rupee.