Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire

Last Tuesday I had a chance to go to the Austrian premiere of Slumdog Millionaire. With all the excitement surrounding the movie’s 8 Oscars I had certainly read quite a bit about it but still wasn’t really sure what to expect.

As it turns out the film can probably be best described as an exotic fairy tale. And a very well crafted, thoughtful and enjoyable fairy tale at that. Plus it’s got a sort of feel-good air around it which is something that I normally don’t necessarily enjoy too much (happy endings are for wimps, right?;-) however in this case it works really well. It’s certainly been a while since I last left a cinema with such a warm and fuzzy feeling in my stomach…

Anyway, the first third of the film which gives some insights into the childhood of Jamal, the main character, very much reminded me of City of God (a real must-see by the way). In terms of the locations (slum in India vs. favela in Brazil), the main characters’ stories and the intensity of the footage both movies strike me as remarkably similar. However Slumdog Millionaire has a slight edge thanks to the great soundtrack which is nicely used all throughout the movie.

Towards the middle of the 2 hour film as Jamal swiftly proceeds in the Who wants to be a millionaire? show and the cutbacks go to more recent events the pace starts to slow down. At this point it becomes quite clear how the story will end, yet a lot of craftsmanship has gone into making sure that it’s an enjoyable experience all along. And it really works, I literally enjoyed every single minute and scene even though I was aware of the fact that if executed differently this part of the movie could have turned into a real letdown.

I really don’t want to go into more details as it would spoil a lot of the pleasure of seeing the movie yourself (which you really should!!). The one last thing I want to say is that the actors portraying the main characters, both as children and young adults, are doing an amazing job which goes a long way in giving Slumdog Millionaire (what I assume to be) an authentic touch. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Freida Pinto (who plays Latika) in several mainstream productions over the coming years. Rumor has it that she might be the next Bond girl and apparently Woody Allen is also interested in working with her for his next movie.

To cut a long story short: Go to your nearest cinema and watch Slumdog Millionaire as soon as possible, you’ll definitely enjoy it!

I’ve embedded the trailer below just in case my comments aren’t convincing enough.

P.S. Yes, I admit it, the movie makes me want to travel to India… :-)

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