2008 // UK - USA // Danny Boyle and Loveleen Tandan // November 15, 2008 // Theatrical Print (Landmark Tivoli Theater)
Perhaps it's the black-hearted cynic in me, but I no longer accept notions of true love and destiny built on little more than airy invocations. So it is with Danny Boyle and Loveleen Tandan's Slumdog Millionaire, a relatively conventional—even predictable—Dickensian tale told with ingenuity, ferocity, and heaps of seductive style. Boyle and Tandan assert that Mumbai orphans Jamal (Dev Patel) and Latika (Freida Pinto) were Meant For Each Other, but we need a reason to believe it beyond their assertion. No matter. While a paucity of authentic connection is its conspicuous flaw, Slumdog's triumph is the sheer spirit of its cinematic language. The bulk of the film is told in Kane-style flashback, as Jamal explains how he managed to breeze his way to the final question on a Hindi quiz show. Boyle and Loveleen's approach is one of limitless energy, whether dealing in the currency of fear, confusion, despair, or pure zest for life. Despite its narrative problems—including a couple of character turns utterly bereft of motivation—Slumdog offers a tantalizing rebuttal to the Great Man theory of hstory, as evidenced by its repeated references to such luminaries. Sometimes someone is just in the right place at the right time.