With once-good shows falling into bad writing, winner shows getting cancelled/withheld (Pushing Daisies and Ugly Betty anyone?) and even more money being wasted on trash reality TV for ratings, it’s rare for me to find true joy from being a couch potato. However, thanks to the power of the internet, one can find worthwhile time by being hooked on rare gems of the screen. This weekend was particularly eventful through the AWESOMENESS of Slumdog Millionaire.
I watched Slumdog Millionaire a second time around yesterday. You don’t need its many oscars to tell you it’s an amazing film. It was lucky enough to get what it deserved in the recently wrapped awards show. But like 2008’s action phenomenon, The Dark Knight, it only needs one viewing to let it stand out. The editing is crisp, with each shot giving your eyes a feast. But such a feast does not use natural wonders but instead, the harsh realities of a corrupted country. Aesthetically it astounds and the plot, develops itself into full circle. Rare it is to find a story that uses such a direction; it is even more surprising in this film since it is directed by Danny Boyle. The perception may come from the Western end, but coming from a country facing similar problems to India (call centers, slums, children not living a life of children), I was drawn to the story for its third world Asian elements. It provided an exact picture without preaching about what needs to be done. It reported every situation simply as it is: a daily struggle, a need to survive. It showed and did not need to tell (unlike Best Film aspirants Milk and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button).
The transitions into each story are crisp, as each layer is unfolded through well-edited shots. Jamal Malik’s story is almost a miracle: a young orphan from the slums joins the Indian version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.” He happens to get every answer right, and he is arrested for suspicion of cheating. How did he do it? Jamal’s whole life is shown in about two hours, with enough details to keep you hanging on the edge of your seat (beat that Benjamin :P)–literally, in my case. It keeps it simple despite the many issues the film shows by giving you enough characters to follow and one person to consistently cheer on.
More than anything, this film resonates a familiarity with destiny that everyone can grasp. One does not need the life of a slumdog to understand how much of our lives is really in our control. In the end, triumph is possible, no matter the circumstance. In an age where crisis abounds and survival is the only hope, Jamal’s story reminds us what we really need to hold on to and find true happiness in whatever destiny we hope to pursue.
(and finally, a story that still reminds us love can go against all odds 🙂