Friday, January 23, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire

This is a spectacular movie. There is a lot of strong elements. But I did not learn much besides seeing how some of those people in other countries become disfigured. Apparently it is not always a childhood birth defect, some abnormality, or from a war. It is another person purposely scarring them. It is sickening.

Why would someone do this? So they can entice an instant sorrow feeling from the passing sucker tourists or other money carrying natives to donate money to this poor looking child. I am not sure how India became this over crowded but it is horrendous. I would not ever want to visit such a place.

This movie has tremendous music and that is what sets it apart. The song in the beginning is tremendous when the kids are running from the security force that is attempting to protect the airport. Why this over weight, uniformed man is trying so hard to catch these kids is beyond me? They only have to scare them off the run way and that is it. But perhaps his superior wants him to actually grab one of these kids and return with them. Whatever.

The two brothers are forced to make money and survive in any way shape and form after their mother is murdered because they are Muslim. The Hindus kill them one day while the police are too busy playing cards or something like that. This forces them to hop on passenger trains and hock items and steal food. They steal money to unsuspecting folks watching an open air opera. They hock more items at the Taj Mahal and pose as tourists. This is what they do after they escape the gangster who pimps out children to beg. Along this ride or much of it is a gorgeous girl called Latika played by Freida Pinto. The storyline has them fighting over this girl but we all know the girl is only really interested in one of them.

I think it is better than Benjamin Button because of the music. This is what sets them apart. To me, it is hard to look at that ugly baby in the beginning and Button's old man appearance is hideous. But that is how it is supposed to me. He is funny though, when he asks that man what it is like to live in a cage. That was funny.

The movie falls back and forth to the game show and the interrogation tactics of the game show's managers. One of the brothers, the nicer one who was violently told to leave from the room after it was his idea to find Latika. I guess the other brother was pretty happy and impressed when they saw Latika after a year or two had passed. But the brother who proves he is not afraid to use violence is correct, he had to kill that child pimp since he would have been hunted by the gangster and his men for years to come. No one wants to live by always having to look over one's shoulder.

The two brothers go there separate ways. Latika, as a young girl, did not seem to object when the gun toting brother told the peaceful brother, the one who came back to find her, to bust off. Movie changing scene. Kids grow up fast. The ugliness of the world came home. One brother ended up working for a rival gangster and the other one worked through his teenage years. The latter somehow earned a shot at India's version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? After he wins the money the game show producers electrocute him since they believe he cheated to have answered so many questions correctly.

The movie had the pretty girl, outstanding music, it was entertaining and powerful. I can not find a flaw. The movie is impeccable. Well, we will see. Better than Braveheart, Shawshank Redemption, Apollo 13, Backdraft, The Transporter, Ocean's 13, The Departed, 7 Pounds? Those movies had greater budgets and superstars in them. The only thing I can fault this movie is is that I did not learn anything. I knew India had slums, the largest in the world, I know their economy has been magnificent in recent years, and I knew India had some pretty woman. The story is fun and the plight of the brother's are not really sad since they are basically childhood thieves. The brother's mother is attractive as well, too bad she is brutally murdered and dirt poor. Why people in slums choose to procreate is beyond me? China has the one child per family rule which is sensible. I am not sure if India has ever invoked such a law when they should have about 70 years ago or perhaps even before that.

Body of Lies, which was intriguing, riveting, and exciting, is one the movies in the past couple of months that is exceptional. 7 Pounds is probably the best though in recent months. Yes, 7 Pounds is better than Button. The Wrestler I do not think as good as any of these movies. But I like Mickey Rourke and I am glad he has rebounded from his shaky state.

Leaving Las Vegas and The Wrestler are on the same level. The latter is the most recent obviously but is not nearly as good as 7 Pounds, Slumdog, and Body of Lies.

I did not like the scene when the American woman insists that her husband give the boy some money when he is being beaten by a larger man. It is all a scam. The woman being a sucker and ordering her husband to fork over money, this has been done before. The man kowtowing to his wife and the wife being such a sourpus. It gets old.

Why did the brother have to die at the end? Is it because he stole the girl from his brother's girl in the middle of the movie? He is the one who made her freedom possible in the first place by bringing the gun. But he was reluctant to pursue her any how. Oh well, he had some fun in life before going out and he took out two terrible men. So perhaps his purpose was fulfilled. He died surrounded by money while he was born with nothing.

The ending was not as powerful as the beginning but it was solid. The boy gets the girl, this ending was not nearly as dramatic as 7 Pounds. Nor was it as creative as the ending of Button. It also was not a true story like Defiance but it had much better music than all of them. I think this is best music in a movie since I saw Juno. I would watch this movie again over Button, most likely. Slumdog is a marvelous movie though, for sure.

I allocate this movie four stars.****

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