30 films to watch before you die, #29
This is a film that I was fortunate enough to watch before it was released in the cinemas. It was at he end of 2008, between Christmas and New Year. It was already being advertised on the side of buses in Birmingham, but it wasn't due to appear in the cinemas until January 9th. The ads made it look like a comedy, so I wouldn't have gone to see it. One day I was talking to a friend. He told me that there was an absolutely fantastic film I should see called "Slumdog Millionaire". I told him I wasn't interested, but he insisted and pushed a DVD into my hand. A home-made copy.
I took it home, and when it started there was a warning message. "This DVD is intended for viewing by film critics during the awards season. It is for personal viewing only. You may not show it to your friends or family". Very interesting. Someone somewhere had leaked the DVD. Fortunately, that was two years before I started writing my blog, or I would have had to explain how I got my hands on the film.
I loved the film. It truly is a masterpiece. It's fascinating to compare it with "Steve Jobs", which I watched in the cinema earlier this month. Both films are directed by Danny Boyle, but their style is so different. "Steve Jobs" is very minimalist, whereas "Slumdog Millionaire" has a luxurious big budget feeling. Both films are excellent in their own ways.
The film tells the story of the "Who wants to be a millionaire" contestant, Jamal Malik, but it also tells the story of India from 1990 to 2006. We see the religious persecution in the 1990's. We see the gangs and the political corruption. We see the housing boom when the slums are demolished to make room for skyscrapers. We see the call centres outsourced by British companies to India.
"Slumdog Millionaire" was nominated for ten Oscars in 2009, of which it won eight, including best film. That was well deserved.