Tuesday, January 27, 2009
My Vote for Best Picture: Slumdog Millionaire
This weekend I finally saw the film everyone is buzzing about, Slumdog Millionaire. Back in December my cousin saw the movie and raved about it, but I wasn't convinced. After watching the film win numerous trophies at the Critics Choice, Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild awards, I decided it was finally time to investigate the hype.
Slumdog Millionaire is an absolutely brilliant film. Its the story of a boy named Jamal, his older brother Salim, and his childhood love Latika. All three children are born in the slums of Mumbai, India and wind up orphaned. The film follows their journey to survive.
The story of Jamal's life is told through the most incredible and unlikely way. In present day, Jamal is a contestant on India's version of the popular game show, Who Wants to be a Millionaire. The whole country is stunned that a kid from the slums has given so many correct answers, that he is accused of cheating. He is interrogated by the police chief, via watching the tape of the broadcast, and after each question, the chief asks - how did you know that?
The story of Jamal's life is told through his responses to the police chief. Recalling the memories that have burned those facts into his brain. Facts that are not learned in books.
The children who play the youngest version of Jamal, his brother Salim, and Latika are the true stars of this movie. Their precious faces juxtaposed with the settings of the horror that was their childhood, creates a jarring and powerful vehicle for telling the story.
The most complex character in the film is Jamal's brother Salim. Salim is fiercely loyal to his brother, while also being consumed by greed. You can never tell if you should root for him, or root for his demise. All three actors that play him through out the film handle this paradox beautifully.
In the end, the story is about love, resilience and the belief that you can realize your destiny. I was so moved by the film that after the closing credits, I was speechless. And as you can tell form reading this blog, I am never at a loss for words.
On February 22nd Slumdog will be up for the Academy Award for Best Picture. I have seen two of the other nominated films, and I can say without hesitation, Slumdog should take home the coveted gold statue. Now if only we could get the actor who plays the game show host to stop hogging the mic at every award show! We want to hear from Dev and Freida!
Fingers crossed that Slumdog basks in the glory of Oscar gold!