Wednesday, January 7, 2009

to flee or fight

Slumdog Millionaire (Danny Boyle, 2008)

Danny Boyles Slumdog Millionaire concerns are twofold: there is an emotionally engaging love story and an insightful cultural study on India. Jamal Malik from early on in his life growing up in Mumbai with his older brother, Salim, are portraits of the ever-present poverty of the city in which 60% of the population lives in slums. At an early age the two boys are brutally made aware of the necessity to fend for themselves when their mother is murdered during a riot. Through fleeing and fighting both brothers decide what path they are going to choose. The film takes on these same kinetic qualities having the actors in motion with fast-paced camera movement and intense editing. They experience exploitation from local thugs as children to go out to the streets and beg for money. This path will be followed by Salim as he later takes up arms and will be working for a criminal organization which seems to be responsible or at least have a hand in the urbanization of the city. Through the exposition to the high rates of unemployment and the trivialities of low-income jobs, such as working at fast food restaurants and serving tea, Jamal represents the everyman approach to the living conditions. Through savoring his memories of his childhood crush, Latika, instead of the emphasized 20 million rupees he can win participating on India's Who Wants to be a Millionaire the film remains humanistic in its approach and a statement on the importance of close relationships.-David Davidson

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