Slumdog Millionaire

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner31/10/2008

Hugely enjoyable and bursting with energy, this is a superbly directed, brilliantly written and beautifully acted drama that packs a powerful emotional punch.

What's it all about?
Directed by Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire opens with 18-year-old slum kid Jamal Malik (Dev Patel, from Skins) being arrested on suspicion of cheating after being one question away from winning 20 million rupees on India's Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? After enduring some rather nasty torture (one rather hopes ITV don't have a similar policy), he tells the police officer (Irrfan Khan) the story of his life, where incredibly, each episode holds the key to one of the questions he's answered.

Jamal's story begins in the Mumbai slums, where he was orphaned, along with his brother Salim (Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail), when their mother was killed in a religious uprising. Later, Jamal and Salim survive by living by their wits on the streets, until Jamal falls in love with Latika (Rubina Ali), a young orphan girl who is destined to come between them.

The Good
Boyle gets terrific performances from his young cast: three actors play each of the lead roles (Jamal, Salim and Latika) and they're all astonishing, particularly Ayush Mahesh Khedekar, who's genuinely heartbreaking as the youngest Jamal. There's also strong support from Irrfan Khan and Anil Kapoor, who's brilliantly slimy as India's version of Chris Tarrant.

Simon Beaufoy's script (adapted from a best-selling novel by Vikas Swarup) cleverly weaves together several different timelines and the finale brilliantly incorporates all the tension already inherent in the Millionaire set-up.

The Great
Boyle's direction is genuinely impressive; every scene crackles with energy and he really captures the vibrant atmosphere of the various Indian cities. He also orchestrates some truly astonishing sequences, from a thrilling chase through the slums to a nail-bitingly tense sequence with some Fagin-like gangsters and the gross-out humour of young Jamal braving a cesspit in order to get an autograph from a Bollywood star.

Worth seeing?
Quite simply, Slumdog Millionaire is unmissable entertainment and a strong contender for a Best Picture nomination come Oscar time. Highly recommended.
Slumdog Millionaire London Premiere

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Slumdog Millionaire
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Content updated: 16/10/2019 23:50

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