Movies: Slumdog Millionaire
Director Danny Boyle's frenetic style serves him well in "Slumdog Millionaire," a film about a quiz show contestant:
Yep, the Indian version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" provides the backdrop for this dramedy. Jamal is the young man in the hot seat; he's an uneducated office drone who grew up in the grinding poverty of the Mumbai slums. The answers to the obscure questions being asked on the show are hidden deep within his harsh upbringing - or are they?
It's a good movie overall. Boyle uses a lot of flashback in this one, but it never becomes a crutch or a distraction. Similarly, the propulsive and lively score contrasts well with the horrific conditions being depicted onscreen (Jamal's neighborhood resembles a landfill more than a street). The child actors who play the three main characters do a good job, too.
"Slumdog Millionaire" loses a lot of steam in the third act, mostly because things start getting a little redundant. The audience, by that point, is hip to the formula (quiz show question leads to a bit more of Jamal's biography), and the stoic performances from the two romantic leads (Dev Patel and Freida Pinto) don't generate much heat. A funny Bollywood ending, though, means that all sins are forgiven when the credits roll.