November 12, 2008
Movie of the Day for Sunday, August 17, 2008
See other Movies of the Day
On the Big Board
||An all-around great film that works on many levels.
||The more I reflect on it, the more I love this film. There's something for everyone here.
||A wonderful fairy tale from the incomparable Danny Boyle
||I was initially put off by the cinematography, but the story really won out by the end. I'd be okay with this winning best picture.
||Good but not great due to the fact that the main character is a passive lump.
||A marvelous storytelling accomplishment, it's just a bit too grim and moralistic for my tastes. I also wish adult Latika's husband hadn't been so one dimensional.
Any time Danny Boyle makes a movie, and I mean ANY TIME, BOP immediately takes note. Whether he wants to reinvent the zombie as a speed demon, he wants to examine the relationship between a small boy and his Saints, or he wants to kill off the entire crew of a spaceship, we will watch. He’s built up that much of a line of credit with our staff over the years. Slumdog Millionaire is his latest release, and yes, we will watch it.
Boyle is handling the theatrical adaptation of the novel Q & A by Vikas Swarup, who isn’t quite the household name in the United States that J.K. Rowling is. His 2005 book, on the other hand, is a legitimate world-wide sensation, having been adapted into 32 languages already. The primary reason for its universality as well as Boyle’s interest in the story is its simplicity.
An unschooled orphan goes on an Indian game show entitled Who Will Win a Billion? and proceeds to do just that. The producers of this game show do not in fact have the billion rupees promised, as they had never considered the possibility that someone might be able to answer twelve different questions across all fields of expertise. In order to avoid paying the man his winnings, they go to the local police and have him arrested for cheating. The lead character in the story as well as the film, Ram Mohammad Thomas, proceeds to tell his lawyer, Smita Shah, the unlikely but plausible series of events that led to his ability to answer the dozen disparate questions. A mystery exists regarding whether Thomas is telling the truth or has in fact perpetrated a fraud. So, the story is told through flashback sequences that reveal the man’s character as well as his true intentions.
In addition to a movie, Slumdog Millionaire is also being adapted into a play and a musical. Whether its popularity with those who have read the book will carry over to financial success for a film remains to be seen. Given that Boyle’s most recent two releases, Sunshine and Millions, barely cleared $10 million in combined domestic receipts, the director probably won’t be buying his next Porsche through North American sales. 28 Days Later did earn $45 million here, but that was six years ago. He’s lost his touch since then, at least in terms of box office. His movies have remained every bit as good in quality as they were when he made his debut with Shallow Grave. (David Mumpower/BOP)