Slumdog Millionaire

by

Hype, hype, bastard HYPE.

It’s not the fault of Danny Boyle or his talented young cast that Slumdog Millionaire has been so ridiculously overhyped this past couple of weeks. It’s the fault of journalists and TV magazine shows, all champing at the bit to speak with supposed expertise about a film they consider to be not only beautifully shot and acted (which it is), but also worthy. They think that by singing the praises of the film without questioning any aspect of it, they earn themselves kudos rather than cynicism from those of us who, having watched it and made our own minds up, have realised the film’s got a few problems in the process.

It doesn’t help, when wishing to watch with fresh eyes, that the movie has been endlessly trailed. You’ll have seen about three quarters of it, including pivotal moments, before you even enter the bloody picture house. You’ll know exactly what the first half’s about and you’ll have guessed the outcome of the second half if you’ve got even one lobe left in your grey matter after the endless barrage of praise that accompanies each plot-ruining clip featured on every current affairs or entertainment show going.

So I don’t need to run through the plot. If you’ve seen it, you’ll know it. If you haven’t, you’ll have been told. What I can tell you is that, in my humble opinion, the first half is visually brilliant and depicts the life of the Mumbai slum-children sympathetically, if simplistically. The flashback scenes using children under the age of sixteen, speaking in their Hindi mother-tongue, are the best aspect to the movie. I wished it had stuck to format the moment the two male leads grew older and the dialogue snapped to English. As it did, the believability of the first half was binned in favour of an ill-advised take on magic realism that didn’t satisfy this here curmudgeon.

Reducing the sufffering of the characters to a fabricated Millionaire wish fulfilment conclusion just felt half-arsed. This was compounded by the fact that the love interest had barely a line in the whole film and we had no sense of who she was and how they had fallen for one another. All we’d seen them do was share a mattress, aged seven or eight.

Despite all that, the film’s worth a look for the visual aspect alone. The amazing opening half’s a seductive vision of a nightmare, paradoxically enough. Just don’t believe that it’s profound, feelgood, or deals sensitively with major issues. Because it doesn’t really do any of those things.

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57 Responses to “Slumdog Millionaire”

  1. Nick T Says:

    Yes, yes I do wait for you to write stuff as work is so so hard and so so easy to avoid.

    I may go to see this film.

    Did YOU enjoy it?

  2. Clarry Says:

    I suspect that I won’t go and see this film. Another one of my sweeping judgements I suppose.

    P.S Anyone see that hideous prog ‘Would you eat an elephant?’ last night. I cried at the dogs bit, which was truly grim.

  3. Nick T Says:

    I saw notv last night save an old episode of Peep Show that I had recorded over crimbo.
    The one with the “Australian Girlfriend”
    Fantastic!

  4. Swineshead Says:

    Shit, was that on last night Clarry?
    Missed it. Blast.

    *goes to catch up*

  5. Nick T Says:

    An hour earlier on BBC1 “The Secret Life of Elephants”

  6. Bête de Jour Says:

    All we’d seen them do was share a mattress, aged seven or eight.

    Sometimes that’s all it takes.

  7. Clarry Says:

    Honestly SH, watch it with a cushion to shield your eyes with. Most of it is ok at first, but aside from the fact that it seems awful to (most) westerners to eat horse, monkey and elephant it is the way some of the animals are treated and dispatched later in the programme that was so awfully tragic. In fact it was the poor treatment of the animals that made these ‘nose to tail eaters’ reasess the exercise.

    I might also add that even the most ardent meat eater would struggle with this prog.

    *cue beration from NC*

  8. Clarry Says:

    Still beating heart anyone?

  9. Nick T Says:

    I fail to see the distinction between eating a witlle baby wamb and a dog?

    Bloody carni’s getting their panties in a twist.

  10. ugeine Says:

    Sounds about right. Glad I avoid this stuff to the best of my ability.

  11. Steve Says:

    Hello, long time subscriber & lurker.

    Well I saw it before xmas while on holiday in NY.

    I guess I was lucky as there hadn’t been any hype about it and I just went to see it because I loved Danny Boyle’s direction in Sunshine. Mental as it was.

    I thought it was great, not sublime or anything but great.

    Was good seeing it in USA too as the seats are massive, leather and recline! We get royally bummed in UK cinemas.

    As an aside, everyone else seemed to enjoy it as there was much standing and clapping at the end of the show, much to my bemusement.

  12. Swineshead Says:

    Hello long time lurker…

    Do you really get bummed in cinemas?

    That sort of carry-on almost ruined Pee Wee Herman’s career.

  13. Swineshead Says:

    Very gnomic there, Bete Du Jour… was that gag or a comment on minimalism?

    I hope your book’s a bit more expansive than that.

  14. Swineshead Says:

    And Clarry – I’m saving it for later so I can watch it with the vegetarian I share my life with. Ha ha ha!

  15. Clarry Says:

    As far as I know Nick a ‘witle baby wamb’ doesn’t have it’s legs and wings pulled off, it’s teeth ripped out or it’s heart cut out whilst still alive, or get crammed in a tiny cage with numerous others before being clubbed to death.

    *weeps*

  16. Clarry Says:

    Soz SH – enjoy!

  17. piqued Says:

    I just bought series 4 of Peep Show on as it happens.

    They had the author of this Slumdog wotsit on Front Row earlier this week (hey don’t shoot me for listening to Radio 4, yeah. I’m old). Apparently it was his first novel and the film deviates from it somewhat.

    When asked if he minded that the filmmakers had taken such liberties withn his book he explained they had sought his permission regarding changes and that couldn’t really give a shit… YEH COS THEY SAWT HIS PERMISHON WITH MUNNY.

  18. Clarry Says:

    I got the boxset of series 1-5 and was a greedy little piggy and stuffed them all in my eyes at once and now i’ve gone nones left :¬(

  19. Nick T Says:

    Clarry, let’s not eh?

  20. piqued Says:

    What do you reckon is the best, series 3?

  21. Clarry Says:

    P – 1 and 3 I think. I love ’em all. What about you?

    N – NO let’s not. Patronising git.

  22. The Spaghetti Says:

    Would it be tasteless to bring up the “elephant leg” they serve in kebab shops? I’ve managed to put my boss off kebabs for life by suggesting this is where doner meat is sourced from.

    Yum.

  23. ugeine Says:

    ‘Meat’ Kebabs, I love that phrase. Yeah, technically we can call it meat without getting trading standards on our arses…

  24. Clarry Says:

    Apparently kebab meat moves when inspected under magnification. I suspect this is an untruth, but is a disturbing thought nonetheless. Not to mention the fluff and hairs on it from being slung over the kebab shop worker’s shoulder. Yuk!

  25. The Spaghetti Says:

    Clarry, was it being inspected whilst still attached to the donating animal?

  26. Clarry Says:

    Ho ho, Spag! No I think it is an urban myth.

    Watched a prog on it recently and in actual fact the ingredients are not all that bad, it’s just the way it’s presented that makes it look foul.

  27. The Spaghetti Says:

    The proprietors always look a bit shifty, too.

  28. piqued Says:

    Clarry, re PS, I find it hard to choose, maybe 3 has the edge. I was initially disappointed by 5 when I first saw it but it stands up to repeated viewing.

    …shit 4 is good too. Shit.

  29. Nick T Says:

    Was not intending to be patronising. Just a short cut way of saying that I thought that it would be better not to go down that old route of carnis versus veggies.
    Git? Perhaps….

  30. Clarry Says:

    I love the ep when Jez sleeps with Sophie’s mum and they are pretending to be asleep in bed when she knocks on the door.

  31. roszs Says:

    I love that episode! “SNORE!”

    “I’m not James Bond”
    *I AM James Bond*

    Did anyone see that annoying programme with smug Alex James on last night? He was deciding whether to keep bees and went “To bee or not to bee, that is the question” and every good bass line he’d ever written was ruined.

  32. Swineshead Says:

    Have you seen that T4 thing he does where he tries to be indie Simon Cowell? A curse upon his head for that alone.

  33. roszs Says:

    Oh yeah, where they have all the unsigned bands. Urgh. Jo Whiley as well. They should be ashamed of themselves.

    Smug cheese-making TWAT.

    My sister has paid £50 or some ridiculous amount of money to see the Hyde Park reunion gig. She is paying for his farmhouse.

  34. Mr H Says:

    What’s wrong with eating elephants? Surely, it would be economically more viable to eat them, rather than cows, as you could fit about 200 cows into one elephant. Surely, this is the time for science to bring the mammoth back to life, that would keep even a fat bastard like me in lardburgers for a week or two.

    I ate monkey brains in North Africa back in the eighties. They tasted exactly like you would expect monkey brains to taste. Slimecious.

  35. roszs Says:

    Mr H: Are you Indiana Jones?

  36. Clarry Says:

    I watched about 2 seconds of the Alex James prog before promptly switching over.

    I can’t help myself watching that Orange unsigned act and he’s a bit weird in that too.

  37. Mr H Says:

    roszs – nearly. Let’s put it down to an upside down map, a so-called mate with a large supply of speed, a merchant seaman’s license and an ‘incident’ with someone elses camel.

    Could have happened to anyone.

  38. Five-Centres Says:

    It’s always the same at Awards time. You see endless trailers, actors on TV shows, read about the film so much, that you think you’ve seen them, so never do.

    Tiresome.

  39. Nick T Says:

    Orange Unsigned on T4?

    Been there http://nicktann.blogspot.com/2008/08/i-did-bad-bad-thing.html

  40. Nick T Says:

    And erm….http://nicktann.blogspot.com/2008/09/i-did-bad-bad-thing-update.html

  41. Nick T Says:

    Countdown with new people AND Jonothan Sachs!

    Oh dear, oh deary me…

  42. roszs Says:

    Ooops, must have missed that one Nick…

  43. Nick T Says:

    Countdown..IT’S ALL WRONG!!!!

  44. Nick T Says:

    Roszs, Jules just had a little girl

  45. Clarry Says:

    I’d written that before seeing your two comments. SNAPS!

    There’s nowt wrong with the elephant eating – as they were given to the villagers after some rich cunt paid squillions of quids to shoot one. It was the cruelty of some of the others that bothered me i.e. rats, snakes, beetles and dogs.

  46. roszs Says:

    Nick, the Guardian agree with you: http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/musicblog/2009/jan/15/orange-unsigned-act-x-factor

  47. Nick T Says:

    I’d put any of the artists on my new label (hint hint) against any of them Roszs

  48. ugeine Says:

    Mr H: Are you Indiana Jones?

    He’s quite blatantly Keenan from Keenan and Kel.

    ‘Kel, get an upside down map, a so-called mate with a large supply of speed, a merchant seaman’s license and an ‘incident’ with someone elses camel and meet me in North Africa.’

    Aaaah here goes!

  49. roszs Says:

    Wot is this Keenan and Kel of which you speak? Is it something yoof? You know I am ancient, ugeine.

  50. ugeine Says:

    You don’t know keenan and kel? Damn, I was rather pleased with that quip. It was a programme about two guys called Keenan and Kel who lived in Chicago. One was fat and had dreadlocks and the other had the mental age of a child and loved orange soda. It used to be on the Beeb during the 90s on Live and Kicking.

  51. ugeine Says:

    Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant tv.

  52. Swineshead Says:

    Good Burger? I liked those two.

  53. Jo Says:

    Argh, you know what – I read about this film last year when it was shown at the BFI festival and thought it sounded good. I hoped it would be one of those little known films which I could slope off to the cinema and watch with one or two other people in the audience.

    Now every fucker knows about it.

    Which means I’ll have people eating popcorn and nachos around me.

    Grrr.

  54. Adam Says:

    I saw this film without hearing anything about it – and absolutely loved it.

  55. roszs Says:

    ugeine – unfortunately I was being forced to work the tills at Primark on Saturdays in the mid-nineties, selling leggings to obese Taunton women, so never got to see Live and Kicking.

  56. Nick T Says:

    I will go and see it next week.
    I like films about India cos I have been there.

  57. piqued Says:

    Has anyone else noticed that when Alex James speaks his gak-riddled nose takes on an uncanny manner of its own doing?

    This may seem like a vague observation but if you’ve noticed this absurdity you’ll know precisely what I mean…

    Anyone…?

    SHIT!!

    *runs off pursued by swarm of bees*

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