Slumdog Millionaire; Wins the Jackpot – Film Review

Slumdog Millionaire, directed by Danny Boyle and Loveleen Tandan, written by Simon Beaufoy and based on the novel by Vikas Swarup, tells the story of the hopeless romantic, Jamal, (Dev Patel), and his brother Salim, (Madhur Mittal), on their journey of self-discovery after the tragic loss and separation of their mother, leaving them wandering all over the country of India, searching for a purpose. This journey leads Jamal into his own personal purpose, to save his one true love, Latika, (Freida Pinto). Told through the backroom talks of a Who Wants To Be A Millionaire scandal, Slumdog Millionaire hits almost all the marks to make this one of my new favorite movies of all time, but isn’t pure of some editing problems.

The film’s editing can be praised in some aspects, as it accurately portrays the frantic nature of the film’s plot. It helps meld together what can be considered a very confusing timing of events, but it can sometimes also be distracting. For example, in multiple scenes, Jamal is being interrogated by two officers about a possible cheating scandal taking place, and the creative team uses the feeling of freneticism in these scenes through the editing. However, it makes these scenes feel really similar to the rest of the movie, being very frantic and fast paced. The goal of these scenes should have been to slow down the story, so the viewer can catch up with the expansive plot. You can see that the focus of the filmmakers is to tell a grounded love story based in the woefully exciting day to day life in modern India, and the editing was trying to reflect that so they carried that into scenes that should’ve been slower paced.

The moment the movie begins, viewers are emotionally engrossed in the lives of Jamal, Salim, and Latika, in an non-conventional love triangle. Jamal, as the main protagonist, is an poignantly charged blank slate for the viewer to attach on to. The steps and reasoning for what Jamal does in order to find Latika never feels like the generic hopeless romantic that constantly tries to “get the girl.” Jamal is wonderfully portrayed by Dev Patel, who makes Jamal’s love nontraditional compared to movies such as The Proposal or The Notebook. Jamal’s relationship with his brother, Salim (Madhur Mittal), can stand up on its own compared to the main relationship between Jamal and Latika. Salim is a complex character who, in the latter half of the movie, becomes a major foil to Jamal. As a viewer, you can never seem to understand his motives, but it ultimately turns out he wants what Jamal really desires, to live his life. The two characters are one in the same, just one takes a drastically different route to get his inner peace. The cinematography of the film complements the raw emotion the actors exhaust. Each shot is methodically thought out to complement the scene it is representing. For example, a very serious scene has intimate and rough shots, while a humorous scene is much more loose and easier for the viewer to attach onto. When I begun watching Slumdog Millionaire, I wasn’t ready for the journey this movie would take me on. I experienced the highs and lows of Jamal’s loss of innocence and regaining his self worth. The film also regained its self worth by passing the superficial failings present by giving a touching story and phenomenal characters that make you return for multiple viewings.

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