Danny Boyle’s “Slumdog Millionaire”

Danny Boyle is one of those filmmakrers, who when you look at his impressive CV, wonder how is it that no one mentions him in the discussion for best filmmaker alive.? He might not warrant that title, but he at least belongs in the conversation, right?

With the exception of The Beach and the final act of Sunshine he’s had hardly a misstep to his career, which began with his first feature film in 1995.? Even his lesser films Alien Love Triangle and Life Less Ordinary have a certain charm to them.? But it’s his major works like Shallow Grave, Trainspotting, 28 Days Later, and Millions which warrent his reputation.? He always manages to go against the conventional grain and breath new life into genre material.

His latest flick, Slumdog Millionaire, which was picked up by Fox Searchlight and Warner Brothers, debuted this weekend at the Telluride Film Festival and has gotten boffo reviews.? The movie took film journalists by surprise, but has left the greatest impression.? Most people were expecting the snippets of David Fincher’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button to knock their socks off, but that movie fizzled.? It seems like Danny Boyle’s movie is at the top of everyone’s list of favorite flicks from the festival.

The movie, based upon the book Q and A by Vikas Swarup, tells the story of Jamal Malik, an illiterate boy from the slums of Mumbai who makes it to the final question of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?.? No one believes he could have answered any of the questions without cheating, but through the use of flashbacks we learn how Malik came to learn those trivia questions.? We also learn that he isn’t on the game show for the money, but rather to reconnect with the girl he loves from childhood.? She watches the show religiously.

Slashfilm was surprised he liked the movie as much as he did, writing: “The police arrest and torture the 18-year-old, hoping to uncover some kind of illegal motivation, but instead they get the heartwarming story of his life so far. And that?s why Danny Boyle?s Slumdog Millionaire is really clever. The film is not really about winning 10 or 20 million rupees on Millionaire, it?s a love story, told through flashbacks.”

I’ve been trying to find some bad reviews, but instead I get nothing but lines like this from Alex Billington at First Showing, “However, it’s still one of the most excitingly cultured mainstream films that’s all about life, love, and destiny.”

Or how Steven Zeitchik is comparing it favorably to Little Miss Sunshine and Juno, writing that he wouldn’t be surprised to find box office or Oscar success for the film.

The list goes on and on from Cinematical’s raving review to Variety’s Todd McCarthy writing, “Driven by fantastic energy and a torrent of vivid images of India old and new, ?Slumdog Millionaire? is a blast. Danny Boyle?s film uses the dilemma of a poor teenager suspected of cheating on the local version of ?Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?? to tell a story of social mobility that is positively Dickensian in its attention to detail and the extremes of poverty and wealth within a culture.”

It is both exciting to see that Danny Boyle may have truly hit one out of the park, one that may become embraced by more than just film freaks.? There is no trailer yet for the picture, but it’s scheduled for a November 28 release date.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • James Furbush September 2, 2008, 4:43 am

    @Alex: I guess I wasn’t clear. It wasn’t so much bad reviews I was looking for but merely contrarian opinions about the film. But I’m stoked more than anyone that there don’t seem to be any.

  • Alex (FirstShowing.net) September 1, 2008, 9:30 pm

    Why exactly were you trying to find bad reviews? Slumdog was a delightful surprise and is a movie that everyone loves. I’m surprised that even critics like Todd McCarthy loved it as much as they did. It’s just honestly a fantastic film and I don’t think you’ll find negative reviews, because there’s not much to dislike about it. It’s just naturally a great movie…!

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