TELLURIDE FILM FEST
Telluride Review: Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire
by Alex Billington
August 31, 2008
Do you believe in destiny? Last night I caught the world premiere at Telluride of Danny Boyle's latest film, Slumdog Millionaire, and it was an absolute blast. I haven't been this thoroughly entertained at a film festival since I saw The Escapist at Sundance in January. At its core, Slumdog is a love story about a boy who just won't give up, but it's wrapped around his short life story about winning the Hindi version of the "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" game show. The film is a two hour lesson on Indian culture taught vividly by Danny Boyle and adorned by beautiful cinematography and an incredible music selection. However, it's still one of the most excitingly cultured mainstream films that's all about life, love, and destiny.
Slumdog Millionaire tells the story of Jamal Malik (Dev Patel), an orphaned child from the slums of Mumbai, India, who is one question away from winning "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" When the final question is pushed to the next day, Jamal is arrested on suspicion of cheating and questioned by the police to explain how he knew all of the answers. The film then proceeds to tell his life story, from the time he was a little kid until that very moment, explaining that experiences throughout his life helped him specifically answer every last question - destiny. We discover in the end that he just never gave up in his pursuit to find a girl who he has been in love with all his life, Latika (Freida Pinto).
This film was a pleasing combination of the realism of City of God, the comedy of Darjeeling Limited, and the style of Danny Boyle. There was never a dull moment throughout the entire thing, compliments of Mr. Boyle, whose filmmaking I already love. Boyle is something of an acquired taste, although I wish he wasn't. Like Guy Ritchie, he's got a very distinct and unique style to his films that some will enjoy, others will despise. I think Slumdog Millionaire can definitely push its way to mainstream success and it will be greeted with open arms, all because it's such an entertaining, fun, and upbeat movie.
That style which I speak so highly of involves very colorful cinematography, fast-paced action, songs and a score that add even more energy to many moments in the film, and a storytelling style that differs from almost every other indie filmmaker. If you can appreciate this kind of style, mixed into one of the most uplifting and charming stories all year, despite it's riddled with the occasional torture or riot, you'll end up loving Slumdog Millionaire as much as I did. I've never even really liked Bollywood either, but by the credits at the end, where the entire cast breaks out into a dance number, even I was enthralled by this wonderful finale. Slumdog is another wonderful film from the creative genius of Danny Boyle.
Telluride Rating: 9 out of 10