Slumdog Millionaire

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Slumdog Millionaire

Review (9/10)
(By Brendan Cullin)

Most times when I read about a movie with a lot of hype surrounding it, I find more often than not, the movie never actually lives up to the accolades it receives. "Slumdog Millionaire" is a movie that received such hype. I believe, as I write this review, it has been nominated for best picture by 11 of 20 critics associations. It has already received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Picture in the Drama category. It most certainly will be nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture. "Slumdog Millionaire" has all the ingredients it requires to be a bit of a letdown, based on my past history of movie viewing. Well, this holiday season I finally got around to seeing "Slumdog" and I just want to assure everyone that this movie is as good, if not better than you have heard. Chances are that it will be adding the Empire Movies Best Picture of the Year to the above accolades sometime in the next couple of weeks.

"Slumdog Millionaire" is the story of a young man from the slums of India who rises from poverty to become a contestant on the game show "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire". When Jamal answers every question correctly and is on the verge of winning the grand prize, the show takes a 24-hour break and Jamal is arrested and tortured because it is suspected he is cheating. The movie then takes us through the heartbreaking and often horrible life of Jamal and his brother Salim as they grow up parentless, homeless and without any real direction in life. As he explains to the police how he managed to answer the questions presented to him on "Millionaire", each question that was presented to Jamal on the game show triggers a flashback that involves Jamal, Salim and some horrible event that happened in their lives. Along the way, we learn of a girl named Latika with whom Jamal fell deeply in love during his childhood. Right up to his appearance on "Millionaire", that love has not wavered and we learn that winning money on the game show is not his real reason for even being there.

"Slumdog Millionaire" is basically a mix of a rags-to-riches story with an unconventional love story thrown into the mix. Most North American audiences are probably not used to seeing a love story that doesn't take place in New York or Chicago and doesn't involve Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Jennifer Aniston or Vince Vaughn. "Slumdog" takes us to the worst parts of India and features the worst people we could possibly meet and some of the worst situations we could possibly imagine. Is there anything more horrific than seeing children tortured? If there is, I don't want to know about it. But out of all this doom and gloom, there rises one young gentleman who manages to find his way onto the most popular show on television and uses this opportunity to profess his unfailing love for the girl of his dreams. It might not be the most realistic story. In fact, it surely has all the makings of your typical fairy tale. But it's damn entertaining nonetheless. Without a doubt, "Slumdog Millionaire" is one of the best, most absorbing and most enchanting movies to hit the theatres in 2008.


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