Sunday, 18 January 2009
What am I missing? EVERYONE loves Slumdog Millionaire. The critics love it (my favourite critic, Roger Ebert, called it a masterpiece). Walter loves it. The masses love it. So why didn’t I love it? Could it be because I hate Who Wants to be a Millionaire even more than highwire walking? Quite possibly, since that game show is a core plot element throughout and my hatred for the show had to interfere with my objectivity.
I certainly agree that Slumdog Millionaire is a brilliantly-made film. The cinematography is outstanding, the acting is very good, the direction and editing are almost flawless and I loved the Mumbai setting and the insight it gives us into lives of people in India. It also has moments of great humour, enough for most comedies these days, even though this is most certainly not a comedy. And perhaps that is where the film loses me. One critic wrote that this is the “feel-good film of the year”. I was appalled by this. I didn’t feel good at all. I found it to be a very dark film and far more violent than I ever would have guessed it would be. I like to be surprised by a film (which is why I go in knowing absolutely nothing) but most of the surprises in Slumdog Millionaire left me cold.
Too many little parts of the story just didn’t work for me. For example, this is a film about serendipity, or the “mystical flow” as I call it, and that alone might have suggested this would be one of my favourite films of the year, but this plot element involved that incredibly stupid game show and so I could not appreciate it at all.
My review is harsh because this film has been so popular and won the Golden Globe. I just don’t think it’s that good. Nevertheless, I do think it deserves ***+, though it will not make my top ten of 2008.
My mug is up but the stuff inside is a tad too bitter for me.