Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Winner

Not since Once have I enjoyed a movie as much as I did Slumdog Millionaire. A story of hope and love, Millionaire is a rare must-see in a crowded movie marketplace. It's definitely one of my favorites of the year. The plot of the movie is rather simple: When Jamal, a former street child from Mumbai, appears on the Hindi version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and gets every question right, he is accused of cheating. After all, there's no way an uneducated young man who grew up poor and without parents could get questions right that scholars and other brainy people couldn't, right? Well, as it turns out, every question Jamal is asked has some kind of tie to something in his life. The film jumps back and forth from the quiz show to those events, but not until the end do you really know whether it was luck, money, cheating, or destiny that lead to Jamal's success.

Director Danny Boyle has infused Millionaire with such vibrancy and life that you'll find yourself overlooking the oftentimes cliched nature of the story. The cinematography is excellent; each frame bursts with color and energy. All the acting is good, and the story itself is so engaging that by the time the quiz show reaches its final question (worth 20 million rupees), you're on the edge of your seat with anticipation wanting to know how it will all turn out (as if there's any doubt).

Is Millionaire as good as Once? No. For one thing, Millionaire is two hours long and it feels it. But so much of the movie is so great and memorable that I can overlook that. I'm giving Slumdog Millionaire an A–



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