4.0, Europe, South Asia

Slumdog Millionaire

2008 / Danny Boyle > Boyle’s really hit me from left field on this one: Boasting one of the most impressive and varied filmographies in cinema today, I imagined this to simply be a heart-warming tale of rags-to-riches and romance. Well, that it is, and so much more. Slumdog Millionaire is conscious of the modern-day India, crisscrossing from the slums to India’s upper class while still approaching the shady underground gangsters and their counterparts (and every American’s favorite) the call center operator. Stylistically, it borrows as much from Boyle’s own Trainspotting as it does from City of God. The vibrant colors and sharp editing energize the film’s pacing so that the viewer’s journey is a non-stop feast of entertainment. And a soundtrack cutting M.I.A.’s beats and vocals only support that foundation. There are a couple of things to be understood, though: The story is fairly conventional, the “plot twist” happens in the beginning, so the viewer isn’t being suckered on, and it’s a bit predictable. But none of that keeps it from being arguably the most incredible, enjoyable film of the year. The whole experience is a crescendo that culminates with the kind of gritty satisfaction that no straight-edged family film can offer.