Seems someone doesn’t believe that Jamal, a young man born and raised in the slums of Mumbai, a “Slumdog,” could possibly have known all the correct answers to the show’s questions. Jamal must have cheated, and the police are going to beat the truth out of him.
The police interrogation triggers Jamal’s memories, which lead us into different chapters of his life where it is revealed how Jamal knew each answer and why he went on the show.
The film is audacious and energetic. Unfolding over a period of two decades, it is reminiscent of the Depression-era “Dead-End Kids” movies. We see the rise of two brothers, one good (Jamal), one not-so-good (Salim) and the girl who comes between them (Latika).
Each is portrayed by three actors as they age from small children to young adults. The film tracks their survival in one of the world’s toughest urban environments. Despite the many hardships encountered, the film and its characters remain buoyant in the face of the full force gale heartache.
The film’s cinematography is one of its real stars. The colors presented are electric and throb on screen. Never has miles of garbage looked so inviting. Its early scenes feature startling vistas of homes built on top of and within mountains of trash.
One sequence, when the trio makes a harrowing escape from a group of very nasty Dickensian villains, occurs during a blinding rainstorm.
The colors and shapes that pop up in this sequence are pure art.
The cinematography works seamlessly with the film’s relentless editing to accelerate us from scene to scene. One amazing piece of filmic sleight of hand is when the boys, in the midst of yet another narrow escape, are forced to leap off a train.
We see them jump, and once the dust clears, it seems without a single edit, the boys who appear are different, older actors, and we are on to the next chapter in their lives.
Danny Boyle, director of such diverse films as “Trainspotting,” “Millions,” “28 Days Later” and “Sunshine,” continues to jump genres with “Slumdog Millionaire.”
The film certainly isn’t blind to the harrowing conditions the characters face, but it is intent in showing a universal, powerful will to live and love.
That the flower of romance can take seed in almost mind-numbing squalor and bloom after years of struggle should give solace to one and all.
?BOB HARRIS has been hooked on movies since he was 13 when his brother got a job in a multiplex and Bob saw all the movies he wanted for free. ?BOB HARRIS has been hooked on movies since he was 13 when his brother got a job in a multiplex and Bob saw all the movies he wanted for free.