When word got out (to me)
When I first learnt that Dev Patel was starring in it, just five minutes before the BBFC certification came on the screen at the cinema, I had to stop myself from thinking of all the embarrassing moments the character he played in Skins had had. I had a similar problem with Hugo Weaving and Lord of the Rings, due to first seeing him in The Matrix; Agent Smith was not going to appear in the middle of Rivendale.
On with the film
But yes, Slumdog Millionaire. It's an adaptation of a novel written by Vikas Swarup called Q and A. The structure of the film revolves around Jamal (Dev Patel) reviewing how he answered questions on the Indian version of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?, whilst he is interrogated in a police station in Mumbai, due to being accused of cheating, but it's the day before the final part of the show is filmed.
Jamal and Salim = deprived
There's the issue that Jamal is a 'slumdog', like his brother Salim, someone born in the slums, and who according to most should not amount to anything, and not know very much about the wider world he lives in. He's also a Muslim, so supposedly he shouldn't know anything about Hinduism either. However, due to a series of unfortunate events that stem from his childhood to his present situation, he knows in an almost fated way what all the correct answers on the show are when he manages to appear on it.
There's also a sub-plot of an enduring love he has for a girl from his childhood, and how he continues to find and pursue her, even though obstacles are always in his way. His love for Latika only grows as he ages.
During the film, I had to stop myself form thinking about City of God. Mostly because the crime element in Slumdog is there, but not at the same level of importance in the Brazillian film.
Did I enjoy it?
I want to say that I really enjoyed the film, but the ending felt out of place with me. I understand how people like a nice bit of catharsis, but to me it seemed that the story could have ended very differently. It's certainly worth watching, and it's a good reminder of the crap filled lives so many millions in India still have to put up with everyday. It has some stunning cinematography and shoot locations too.
Does it deserve the hype?
Just not to sure if it deserved its four Golden Globes for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Original Score. Well, perhaps for Best Original Score, but then it probably only got that because it would have sounded exotic compared to the other nominations.
Official UK site for Slumdog Millionaire