Thursday, 14 January 2010

Slumdog Millionaire

Listening to - Alicia Keyes 'Empire State of Mind'
Reading - Scriptwriting in the UK

Ok, so on our new flatscreen TV on Channel 4 HD I watched 'Slumdog Millionaire' again last night. I remember I wasn't as keen to watch it when it came out on the big screen as my sis. But I relented and found I enjoyed it, though was surprised to see it being tagged as an 'uplifting film', when so much awfulness happens in the story - which is the point in a sense, for it's only from the lowest levels a story of rising right to the top actually holds weight.

I enjoy the film for the first third me thinks, when the children are very small. The opening where the boys run down from the police through the slums is probably one the most powerfully cinematic sequences there is and all credit goes to director and cinematographer for that. I'm not sure whether it's because it feels really authentic and superbly acted when the child actors speak Hindi but something is definitely lost when the film progresses and it's in English; not to mention I am not a fan of Dev Patel and thought his accent just disappeared by the time his character finds Latika. The film painted some powerful points on India and the madness that is the development there, though I am not best placed to comment on it from a first hand perspective as the last time I visited was ten years ago. Perhaps I am in a total minority here, but it didn't convey to me, (not entirely convincingly) that the little Jamal we see is the same Jamal Dev Patel portrays. I think my story nitpicking alarm is blaring now but by the time Jamal flatly tells Latika 'It's our destiny' and she replies with 'I thought we'd meet only in death' (a line that only works in Hindi because love and death are always dramatically paired together), I'm not buying it much. What happened to the side of Jamal that quipped 'Tu mere naal dance karengi, na?' (You'll dance with me, right?)  Oh, anyway, I leave it at that. People love it and fair does. I just think the kid actors MAKE the film and it's because of them it actually stands up in the first place - so my thanks go to the brilliant casting director who cast them.

Essentially I think the Indian co-director, Loveleen Tandon gets no real credit and she's the one who probably cast those kids while Gail Stevens possibly cast Dev Patel - never mind! Plus, I've watched Danny Boyle's 'The Beach' and [some of] '28 Days Later' (partly due to Cillian Murphy) and with the former, I felt there was something missing and perhaps dragged a little too long for my tastes. But I will leave it on a typical film student note, 'But it was shot really beautifully'.

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