Short Review

Rated 5.0

Slumdog Millionaire recounts the rather brutal travails of a Mumbai slum kid who vaults into improbable wealth (and a bit of undeserved notoriety) via India’s version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? The new film from Danny Boyle (A Shallow Grave, Trainspotting) is indeed a thumpingly effective crowd-pleaser, and a stingingly offbeat saga as well. The “rags-to-riches” tag misses part of the overall point, however: Slumdog has energetic charm and a streak of romance that hurtles toward an ostensibly happy ending, but it’s also carrying a load of disturbing complications and assorted harsh ironies along the way. Perhaps the most interesting of these complications is that there are two “slumdog millionaires” in the film—Jamal, the teenaged slum kid, is one, but the quiz show’s host Prem Kumar (Anil Kapoor) also emerges as another—in ways that prove crucial to a couple of major plot twists. Feather River Cinemas, Paradise Cinema 7 and Tinseltown. Rated R