Saturday, January 3, 2009

Slum Dog Millionaire, a Review

I work the weekend night shift at a local psychiatric hospital. I'm a lowly psych technician. It's quiet, my unit. I love my job. I really enjoy the patients. In fact, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what to call them before I realized they're referred to as "patients". They seem more like clientele. It's not a job, really, I enjoy it so much.

New Year's Day I covered for a younger tech, so I worked an eight hour day shift, spending all day with the patients, eating with them, sitting in group sessions, then going to the movies, since it was a holiday. Thirteen of us (including another tech) at the theater. We saw Slum Dog Millionaire. I'd never heard of the film.



Watching previews for other films, I was immediately nervous. Every film was foreign with subtitles. Fortunately, Slum Dog Millionaire is not. I should have been nervous for other reasons, it seems. It's a very violent, disturbing film. It portrays the lowest caste in India in a colorful, graphic way. No sexual scenes or nudity, but the violence to the children alone was enough.

Don't get me wrong - it's an incredible movie. I just didn't think it was appropriate for the group I was with. Maybe my own sensibilities are too delicate. But it's definitely the kind of film I'll be thinking about for weeks, still determining whether or not it was good, always deciding that yes, it was.

Brief lowdown is that the main character is the lowest class of Indian citizen growing up, a slum dog. He winds up, as an adult, on the Indian version of "Who Wants to be Millionaire". And wins. The movie opens with him in a jail cell being tortured by the guard, who's attempting to get out of him how he cheated. The entire film is flashbacks from his early childhood and on as he explains how he knew the answers to the questions on the game show. Very well done.

If you can handle violence and extreme tension in a film, I highly recommend this one. I give it five of five stars, but I don't see many movies and am easily impressed. Regardless, I thought it was very good. Wouldn't take my teens to see it, though. Hmm. Well, maybe. If you're thinking of taking teens, see it yourself, first. It's rated R and it's a well-earned rating.

If this one wasn't on your radar and you're looking for something other than the usual fluff film, please go see it. Just don't yell at me if you can't handle it. I warned you.

Until I write again ...

Flea

24 comments:

Mental P Mama said...

I saw it last week. Very graphic. It sure underscores for me that I live in a bubble. A safe, lucky bubble. By the way, love the new header!

Mayberry Magpie said...

It was featured in a multi-part series on NPR not long ago. Have been wanting to see it ever since. But them, sometimes, I like to rent movies that aren't mindless so I can better process them. When I go to the theatre, I want popcorn and fun.

asthmagirl said...

Yes, love the new header.

I dislike watching movies like that sometimes. I had the same reaction to No Country for Old Men. So much violence and yet you get pulled in and in the end it was a great film, but you'd never want to see it again.

Trisha said...

Flea-

Like the new header! It is neat!

As for the movie - I am not a fan of violence so I probably won't be heading out to see that one even though I think the topic is intriquing!

noble pig said...

Cool new header.

never heard of the movie...the violence would kill me too! Thanks for the warning!

Coffee Bean said...

I had not heard of this movie. I'll be checking it out!

Having been in a situation where you work, I actually think movies of this nature are good. It gives them something else to think about other than themselves and what they weigh/look like. Yes, it can be disturbing, but if you are going to be thinking about this movie for a long time... so are they. Our culture here in the states is so different than many others around the world. When faced with some of that, it might just help to move them to consider the world around them differently and maybe start thinking about more important things.

Daryl said...

Love the new look ..

Everyone I know who has seen this movie has been both VERY disturbed by the violence and treatment of children and still loved the film .. when its on DVD we'll see it .. Husband is so not a go to the movie person...

:-Daryl

Melissa said...

Interesting concept. Looks like I will need to add it to my Netflix list when it comes out on DVD.

I can't tell you when the last time I hit the theatre was!

Warty Mammal said...

It sounds good, but also disturbing. Thanks for the synopsis.

Laura ~Peach~ said...

will wait for dvd too sounds interestesting and the clip is captivating and grips your curiosity to see what the questions are and how he learned the answers! Life stories all always winners to me...

Tammy said...

I haven't seen it, but I did see The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button and it was AMAZING!

Rick said...

Hello there Flea, Please forgive my boldness. I am doing a bit of blog surfing to invite people over to my blog to tell them about my giveaway. This isn't a gimmick. It's just my way of celebrating two years of blogging. I am giving away a free caricature drawn by me. I'd be honor if you'd come over and check it out.

Snooty Primadona said...

Yet another header, lol. Make up your mind girlfriend! (j/k)

Your critique and the trailer have me hooked already. I don't doubt that I'll cry as hard as I did in City of Joy with the late Patrick Swayze...

Snooty Primadona said...

Holy Cow! I did NOT mean to say the late Ptrick Swayze. Gah!

sudhir said...

Flea,

I watched the film today and so I enjoyed reading your review. You are absolutely correct there is some degree of violence. However, I found the Taj Mahal scenes - those which had the kids playing tourist guides- hilarious. The scene, where the blind beggar boy finds out that the currency bill given is a dollar just by smelling and touching, is memorable.

Thanks for your review

Sudhir

~ Straight Shooter ~ said...

Loved the advice and insight Flea. Thank you for the forewarning.
I have to say I choked on my Diet Coke when Snooty Primadona said, "late" when describing Swayze though!
It will be a sad day when he goes...

vivek said...

A sadist movie which derives pleasure from indias apathy. The last scene shows a Kid jumping into a gutter filled with rubbish on Jamal winning 20 million dollars.
What for? to show we like gutters-- It is our obligation. Good i didnt waste money watching it (Download it from a torrent)

Anonymous said...

You can see it free on video.google. com.

Country Girl said...

I just want to say that the violence in this movie doesn't compare to No Country For Old Men.

At the end of Slumdog Millionaire, I felt so happy, so full of joy and have been talking about the movie to this day. I saw it two weeks ago.

There are several scenes that had me covering my eyes, but they all were necessary for us to understand more about the teenager who wins and is accused of cheating. No, I wouldn't take a teenager to see this movie unless they were mature for their age. This was one of the best films I've ever seen and I've been saying it's going to win the Oscar this year. Did you see how great it did at the Golden Globes? Wow!

shirin said...

I agree that the film contained alot of violence.BUt isn,t this an obvious reality in our violent world.Does it go away,if peaple close thier eyes and just enjoy thier own normal life?Isn,t some suffering caused by watching this excellent film,A piece of cake com paring the REAL SUFFERING of those who are victim.
I definitely don,t agree with many others whose negative comments are sort of closing eyes to the other human beings (particulARly children)in this world who are victims of SOCIO-POLITICAL and WAR CRIMES.

iris dalo lumacang said...

I love the movie. I just dont like the part where he jump off the toilet just to get the signature of a known actor. I think that was worst that nudity and I just wondering why... when he was at the crowd the people does not recognized his smell? Was it because its norm to them?

phd in yogurtry said...

Thanks for the review and to those who commented. My teen wants to see this, he's mature, but I am extremely reluctant to introduce him to this degree of government condoned brutality. The DVD version where I can skip past the violence. Adults may benefit from understanding that this kind of thing goes on in the world at large, but I don't see the benefit to a teen.

Anonymous said...

I saw the movie with 3 friends last night. I decided to leave after a particularly horrifying scene with a young boy. Everyone agreed it's a beautifully done film... but if you're sensitive to violence towards children you might want to think twice.

Aloha!! said...

Well i read your comment and review. I don't like the movie. I don't know why? The biggest thing I don't like is so much discussion around it. Buy I must find out why i don't like SDM.
But i like the way you started teh review discussing about your "clientele"