Plot Outline: A Mumbai teen who grew up in the slums, becomes a contestant on the Indian version of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" He is arrested under suspicion of cheating, and while being interrogated, events from his life history are shown which explain why he knows the answers.
* The story of Jamal Malik, an 18 year-old orphan from the slums of Mumbai, who is about to experience the biggest day of his life. With the whole nation watching, he is just one question away from winning a staggering 20 million rupees on India's "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" But when the show breaks for the night, police arrest him on suspicion of cheating; how could a street kid know so much? Desperate to prove his innocence, Jamal tells the story of his life in the slum where he and his brother grew up, of their adventures together on the road, of vicious encounters with local gangs, and of Latika, the girl he loved and lost. Each chapter of his story reveals the key to the answer to one of the game show's questions. Each chapter of Jamal's increasingly layered story reveals where he learned the answers to the show's seemingly impossible quizzes. But one question remains a mystery: what is this young man with no apparent desire for riches really doing on the game show? When the new day dawns and Jamal returns to answer the final question, the Inspector and sixty million viewers are about to find out. At the heart of its storytelling lies the question of how anyone comes to know the things they know about life and love. Written by Fox Searchlight Pictures
* Eighteen year old Jamal Malik is having an amazing answering streak on the Indian version of the television game show, "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire". He's only one correct question away from the big prize. However, some, including those associated with the game show, question how someone like Jamal, a self confessed non-genius who grew up in the slums of Mumbai, can be doing so well on the show when others who are brighter, more educated and wealthier than him have failed. Is Jamal cheating? Is it purely luck that they have asked him the questions to which he knows the answers? Seeing Jamal's life journey to this point ultimately answers these questions. His life journey includes being orphaned at an early age; growing up with an older brother, Salim, who was both his guardian/protector and antagonist; and having a relationship since childhood with another orphaned child, a girl named Latika. His motivation for being on the show also may provide some answers to his success. Perhaps it was all just meant to be. Written by Huggo
* In Mumbai, the eighteen year-old orphan from the slums Jamal Malik is tortured by the policemen in a precinct accused of cheating a game show. Jamal, who has no education and works in a call center serving tea, is close to wining twenty million rupees in the show "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" hosted by Prem Kumar, giving precise answers to the questions and raising suspicion of fraud. The police inspector shows the videotape and after each question, Jamal tells parts of his childhood with his brother Salim, his crush for Latika and their fight to survive on the streets to justify each correct answer, guided by his common sense and past experience, and prove his innocence. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
A stunning achievement: The best film of the year and one of the most exhilarating film-going experiences, 3 November 2008
Author: anhedonia from Planet Earth
I won't see a better, more exhilarating movie this year than Danny Boyle's "Slumdog Millionaire." If Academy voters have any sense, they will nominate this for Best Picture and Best Director and then vote overwhelmingly for it for both awards.
Boyle has taken what is essentially a story about a young man on India's version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" and transformed it into a gritty, realistic, powerful and, at times, gut-wrenching fairy tale. It's a Dickensian picture about a world rarely, if ever, seen in mainstream movies, a film that grabs us from the opening frame and doesn't let go until the credits roll at the end.
This is why I love movies. Films like "Slumdog Millionaire" are rare. They are things of beauty, works of art that make me fall in love with movies all over again. Boyle has done it twice. First with "Millions" (2004), which also, coincidentally, was about a young boy and money; and now with "Slumdog Millionaire."
This is Boyle's masterpiece - a stunningly original piece of film-making.
Every once in a while there is a sleeper film, usually an independent movie, that comes along, takes everyone by surprise, then gets terrific word of mouth and becomes a huge success. "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" (2002), "Little Miss Sunshine" (2006) - though I did not care much for it - and "Juno" (2007) are such films. But, frankly, those films can't hold a candle to "Slumdog Millionaire."
What might surprise many viewers is that a third of the dialogue is in Hindi. (And Boyle's placement of subtitles on the screen makes such good sense!) Please do not let that dissuade you from seeing this marvelous film. Do not let the R rating prevent you, either. What was the MPAA thinking? Honestly! There are far more offensive, vulgar and violent movies that are rated PG-13. "Slumdog Millionaire" should never have received an R rating. (This film should be mandatory viewing for young people, especially those in industrialized nations.)
Simon Beaufoy's script was originally entirely in English, but Boyle's decision to have the Indian kids speak in Hindi, instead, is the right call. Having the children speaking in their native tongue makes perfect sense, especially because Boyle and Beaufoy depicts the realism of the kids' lives.
That's what incredible about this film. Boyle and Beaufoy do not shy away from showing the squalor of Bombay. These kids live in deplorable conditions amid the grime, sewers and trash dumps of the slums. And, yet, thanks of Boyle true ingenuity, he creates uplifting and even humorous moments in the slums. There is one moment - and I shan't spoil it for anyone, but you will know it when you see it - that very well might be my favorite film moment in the last five years.
Boyle doesn't do a thing wrong here. From his choice of actors to the music to his choice of colors, Boyle works his magic.
The performances are uniformly good. Irrfan Khan finds the right balance between a tormentor and a quasi-father figure as the police officer. There's young Dev Patel as Jamal, playing with confidence, bringing a wonderful swagger to his role, as well as a sense of fear that we completely understand. Freida Pinto as the love interest is superb. And, of course, there are the three young 'uns. Perfectly cast, they actually make the film work. Their performances as Jamal, Salim and Latika are so utterly convincing that they completely draw us into the picture and make the jobs of the older actors playing them much easier.
"Slumdog Millionaire" is, I suppose, a dramatic comedy at heart. But it is also much more. It is a film about friendship, gratitude, love, betrayal, poverty and hope. It makes you laugh, weep and cheer as you can't help but marvel at Boyle's sheer genius.
The film moves along at a breakneck pace, yet none of the cinematic flair - and there is plenty - seems superfluous. Everything Boyle does, including the Bollywood touches, makes sense. There's such a brilliantly kinetic energy to this film that it is impossible not to be enthralled by it.
What Boyle has done is truly miraculous. He has turned a film about street life in Bombay into a visceral, genuine crowd-pleaser. And you will walk out of the movie theater feeling inspired and hopeful, knowing you've just seen something very special.
"Slumdog Millionaire" is not to be missed. It is the best movie of the year. And it is, without any doubt, one of the ten best films of the decade.