Reel Reviews

Slumdog Millionaire - Blu-ray Review



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</script></div>{/googleAds}After stumbling with the highly anticipated but ultimately disappointing think piece, Sunshine, the most versatile director in Hollywood is back with a horrifically beautiful rags-to-riches fairytale that's sure to catch a lot of attention this Oscar season. Danny Boyle, who is as at ease with horror as he is with children's stories, showcases his versatility by making Slumdog Millionaire an intoxicating blend of genres that touches on a wide range of emotions. Though it's ultimately a sweet love story, at times it's as heart wrenching as anything you'll see this year. You'll laugh at the film's crafty humor, the heartbreak will have you in tears, and you'll become forever moved by the pervasive sense of hopelessness.

Slumdog MillionaireSimon Beaufoy's (The Full Monty) story begins in the slums of Mumbai, India and ends up on the shiny set of India's version of Who Wants to be A Millionaire. Jamal Malik (Dev Patel) is on the verge of answering the final question that will win him the grand prize... a cool 20 million rupees. After breezing through the earlier rounds, tonight the entire nation is tuning in to hear his final answer. But how could a lowly â"chai walla" (tea server) in a call center who grew up in the slums be so smart? The show's smarmy host (Anil Kapoor) wants to know, so he has the local police work the kid over to find out. Under interrogation, as his answers are reviewed on video one by one, Jamal's explanation of each unfolds another chapter in his past. A well-worn narrative device for sure, but one that could have easily fallen apart in the hands of a lesser-skilled filmmaker.

Through a series of flashbacks framed by each Millionaire question, we learn of the plight of young Jamal and his brother Salim (Madhur Mittal), who're left homeless and orphaned when their mother is killed in the religious riots of 1992. Upon taking to the streets to eke out a living, they eventually befriend a young girl named Latika (Rubina Ali). The three musketeers, as they call themselves, are eventually swept up by a crime lord who runs a training facility for child beggars. We're exposed to some truly brutal moments that may be unbearable for some viewers, when we become witness to the nearly inhuman inner-workings of this child â"busker" factory. As the trio age into adolescence, Latika (Tanvi Ganesh Lonkar) is eventually torn away from them and put into the service of a prostitution ring. As Jamal tries out for the game show years later, he hopes that just maybe Latika played in adulthood by the beautiful Freida Pinto - will be watching.

The film's success is realized mostly due to Boyle's filmmaking skills... his vision, if you will. The two brothers-one sweetheart story that comes from Vikas Swarup's novel, Q & A, is one we've seen many times over, but Boyle brings it to life with his own unique touch. Dialogue-less aerial shots of India's tin-roofed slums speak volumes as they play against the bustling rhythms of Mumbai's garbage-filled streets. Brilliantly colored fabrics being hand-washed in chocolate-brown rivers contrast nicely against the drab squalor of the world's most populous city. The film's score, an intriguing mix of pop tunes and original music by A. R. Rahman, is often tinged with the drumbeat rhythms of the Millionaire theme music. Just as we begin to find ourselves overwhelmed by the nearly crushing destitution and hopelessness, Boyle pulls back, letting Patel mesmerize us with his Jamal's resourceful fortitude and warm spirit.

As the credits roll, even an out of place Bollywood dance scene feels appropriate. Boyle gets away with it because he has us eating out of his hand.


Component Grades
Movie
DVD
5 Stars
4 stars
DVD Experience
4.5 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Screen Formats: 2.35:1 (Cinemascope)

Subtitles: English; French; Spanish

Language and Sound: English: DTS 5.1 HD; French: Dolby Digital 5.1

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; deleted scenes; director's commentary; making-of featurette; and more..

* Commentary
o Feature-length commentary track with with director Danny Boyle and Actor Dev Patel.
* Featurettes
o Making Of Slumdog Millionaire Featurette with Golden Globe Winning Director Danny Boyle
o Exclusive Short Film - Manjha
* Deleted Scenes -
o 12 Deleted Scenes of the "Toilet Scene"
* Previews - "Bombay Liquid Dance" Music Video

Number of Discs: 2 with Keepcase Packaging, includes digital copy.

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